Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, now in its 10th year, finds respondents are channeling their energies toward meaningful action, like increasing political involvement, aligning spending and career choices with their values, and driving change on societal issues that matter most to them. In turn, these generations expect institutions like businesses and governments to do more.
Climate change and protecting the environment was millennials’ No. 1 personal concern a year ago. Perhaps unsurprising, this year, health and unemployment fears topped the list of personal concerns for millennials. Yet, their continued focus on environmental issues (coming in third), and the fact that it remains the No. 1 concern for Gen Z – even during a global pandemic, when other threats to their health, family welfare, and careers may feel more imminent – demonstrates how important this issue is for younger generations.
Many believe (37 percent of millennials and 40 percent of Gen Zs) that more people will commit to take action on environmental and climate issues after the pandemic. This could include anything from recycling more to increasing use of public transportation, to changing their eating and shopping habits.
As consumers, millennials and Gen Zs continue to make decisions aligned with their values. More than a quarter of respondents say businesses’ impact (both positive and negative) on the environment has influenced their buying decisions. However, approximately 60 percent of millennials and Gen Zs fear business’ commitment to helping combat climate change will be less of a priority as business leaders reckon with challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Continuing a steady decline over the past few years, less than half of millennials (47 percent) and Gen Zs (48 percent) think business is having a positive impact on society. This marks the first time that figure has dipped below 50 percent. Of note, it has dropped almost 30 points since 2017.
Job loyalty also slipped a bit from last year’s record high. More millennials and Gen Zs would, if given the opportunity, leave their current employers within two years (36 percent and 53 percent respectively, compared to 31 percent and 50 percent in 2020) while about the same say they plan to stay at least five years (34 percent millennials, 21 percent Gen Zs). Furthermore, 44 percent of millennials and 49 percent of Gen Zs say they have made choices over the type of work they are prepared to do and the organizations they are willing to work for based on their personal ethics over the past two years.