· Just one third of millennials and 38% of Gen Zs say their employment and income status has been unaffected by COVID-19;
· 61% of millennials believe their financial situations will worsen or stagnate in the next year;
· Around 60% of millennials and Gen Zs say they plan to buy more products and services from large businesses that have taken care of their workforces and have had a positive impact on society during the pandemic.
In the face of unprecedented health and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, millennials and Gen Zs express resolve and a vision to build a better future, a new Deloitte survey finds. The 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, now in its ninth year, reveals that both generations remain resilient in the face of adversity and are determined to drive positive change in their communities and around the world.
This year’s survey consists of two parts: a ‘primary’ survey of 18,426 millennials and Gen Zs across 43 countries conducted between November 2019 and early January 2020, and a ‘pulse’ survey of 9,102 individuals over 13 countries, including 800 individuals surveyed in the UK, taken between April and May of 2020 in the midst of the worldwide pandemic.
Dimple Agarwal, deputy CEO and managing partner for people and purpose, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically shifted our way of life – how we work, socialise, shop and more – and this survey shows the impact it has had on young generations has been especially tough. However, despite uncertain and discouraging conditions, millennials and Gen Zs express impressive resilience and a determination to improve the world. As economies rebuild and society de-hibernates, I believe young people will be vital in shaping the world that emerges.”
The report highlights how a global pandemic has significantly affected the careers of young workers. Worldwide, almost 30% of Gen Zs and nearly a quarter of younger millennials (25-30 year olds) said they had either lost their jobs or been placed on temporary, unpaid leave. Only a third of millennials and 38% of Gen Zs taking the pulse survey said their employment and income status had been unaffected. However, in the UK pulse survey 45% of Gen Zs said their employment and income status had not changed as a result of COVID-19.
Stress and mental health
Prior to the pandemic, 52% of Gen Zs and 50% of millennials in the 13 countries that were surveyed twice said they were stressed all or most of the time. Respondents cited family welfare, long-term finances, and job prospects as primary sources of stress. Interestingly, stress levels fell eight points for both generations in the second survey, possibly indicating that the slowdown of life in lockdown may have reduced stress levels. This is backed by a recent Deloitte UK study of over 2,000 UK workers, which found that 48% of employed and self-employed Londoners say the lockdown has had a positive or very positive impact on their wellbeing.
Agarwal added: “Despite the slight declines seen in the pulse survey, stress and mental wellness remain critical issues for young generations. According to the research, approximately one-third of millennials and Gen Zs globally took time off work due to stress before the pandemic, though around half told their employers it was for a different reason.
“Our recent ‘Mental health and employers: refreshing the case for investment’ research found that the cost of poor mental health to UK employers is £45 billion per year. It is a sad reality that so many young people in the work place feel unable to disclose poor mental health to their employers.”
Encouragingly, flexible working arrangements, which were widely implemented as a result of the pandemic, have been welcomed by 69% of millennials and 64% of Gen Zs who agreed that having the option to work from home in the future would relieve stress.
Financial concerns are particularly high for millennials, many of whom began their careers in the wake of the Great Recession and now face another downturn. In the primary survey, half of millennials (50%) believed their financial situations would worsen or stagnate in the next year rather than improve (42%). When analysing results from only the 13 countries included in the pulse survey, 61% of millennial respondents conveyed the same lack of optimism during the pandemic, a seven percentage-point jump from the primary survey among this group.
“Every year I look forward to our Millennial Survey. Not only do I find it insightful but it also gives me hope that the younger generations care about society and the emphasis that businesses place on purpose.” Agarwal continued. “Younger generations take the issue of social purpose as a personal calling. In the pulse survey, respondents indicated they were taking ‘socially conscious’ actions to benefit the planet and society. The COVID-19 crisis may have reinforced these inclinations as three quarters said the pandemic has made them more sympathetic to the needs of others, and that they will take action to positively impact their communities.”
Millennials and Gen Zs’ focus on purpose is reflected in their purchasing habits. About 60% said they plan to buy more products and services from large businesses that have taken care of their workforces and positively impacted society during the pandemic. Around three quarters will make an extra effort to buy products and services from smaller, local businesses.
Once again, climate change emerged as a critical issue for millennials and Gen Zs both before and during COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, half of respondents said they believe it too late to repair the damage caused by climate change and only 40% expressed optimism that future efforts to protect the environment will succeed. However, four months later in the 13 pulse survey countries, the percentage of millennials believing the world has reached the point of no return dropped by eight points. This perhaps suggests that the environmental impact of reduced activity during the pandemic has given hope that there’s still time to act.
A vast majority (80%) also think governments and businesses need to make greater efforts to protect the environment, yet they are concerned that the economic impact of the pandemic might make this less of a priority.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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