Unless Australian businesses rethink their retention strategies for millennial workers they risk losing a large percentage of their workforce, according to Deloitte’s fifth annual Millennial Survey.
“The findings of the Millennial Survey are critical for business leaders,” said David Hill, Deloitte Australia Chief Operating Officer. “The 7,700 tertiary educated and employed millennials (aged up to 31) we interviewed globally place great importance on working for an organisation with innovative leaders who offer meaningful work, opportunities for professional development and a good work-life balance.
“They also want their leaders to listen and consider their views. In my experience we have a lot to learn from these bright, young future leaders. The best leaders value their ideas and energy. Those who don’t are likely to find their millennial workers quickly looking elsewhere.
Deloitte interviewed 300 Australians as part of its global survey of millennials across 29 countries. Almost half (46 per cent) of the Australian millennials interviewed said they expect to leave their current employer in the next two years (up from 44 per cent globally).
The data is even starker over the longer-term, with only 19 per cent of Australian millennials saying they expect to stay with their current employer for more than five years (compared with 27 per cent globally).
Born after 1982, millennials make up a significant proportion of young professionals and are already emerging as senior leaders in the technology sector and other industries.
They will comprise 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025. Their loyalty to their employer is strongly linked to leadership development opportunities, workplace flexibility and, importantly, a sense of purpose beyond profit.
Investing in leaders builds loyalty
The Deloitte survey presented each year at the World Economic Forum’s Davos meeting found that 69 per cent of the Australian Millennials likely to leave their employer in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.
The most loyal employees will be those who feel that:
- There is support/training on offer for those wishing to take on leadership roles
- Younger employees are actively encouraged to aim for leadership roles
“Leadership skills can and should be developed at every level of an organisation,” said David Brown, Human Capital Leader for Deloitte.
“With the shift from positional power to personal power the importance of being able to influence and lead others is important for everyone in an organisation, irrespective of generation.”
Putting purpose before profit
The survey finds that millennials are guided by strong personal values at all stages of their careers. This is evidenced by the employers they choose and the assignments they’re willing to accept.
Deloitte Sustainability Services partner, Paul Dobson, said: “While 73 per cent of millennials believe business has a positive impact on society, they still want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers and society), products and purpose – and less on profits.
“More than three quarters (83 per cent) of the next generation of Australian leaders say business success should be measured by more than financial performance. 73 per cent rate having satisfied/loyal customers as the next most important measure of business success, followed by the quality of a company’s products and services (69 per cent) and being a great place to work (67 per cent).
“For the most loyal millennials a sense of corporate purpose is incredibly important, with 95 per cent of those who remain with their employer more than five years saying it keeps them satisfied.
“Less than a generation ago, most professionals sought long-term relationships with employers, and the majority would never dream of saying ‘no’ to supervisors who asked them to take on projects,” said David Hill.
“Millennials are more independent and more likely to put their personal values ahead of organisational goals. They are re-defining professional success and proactively managing their careers and it would appear their values do not change dramatically as they progress professionally, which will have a significant impact on business and society in the future.”
Keeping Millennials engaged
The following charts compare work satisfaction levels for Australian millennials (% numbers on bars) and their global counterparts (top of bars).