Texting and social media are the main means of communication for millennials and Gen Zers like sisters, Sophie, 22, and Lucy Welsh, 21. Picture: Sarah Matray
Texting and social media are the main means of communication for millennials and Gen Zers like sisters, Sophie, 22, and Lucy Welsh, 21. Picture: Sarah Matray

What really terrifies young people

MILLENNIALS and Gen Z are worried their jobs will be replaced by robots.

And with the "gig economy" already becoming more popular as a viable alternative to full-time employment, more are likely to leave their current jobs anyway, new research shows.

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey reveals just how much of an impact Industry 4.0 is having on millennials and Gen Z.

While these generations are "highly aware" of how the fourth industrial revolution is transforming economies, jobs and society itself, they also feel it has the potential to free people from routine activities to focus on more creative work.

But they still remain uneasy about its arrival, with 17 per cent of all surveyed millennials, and 32 per cent of those whose organisations already use Industry 4.0 technologies extensively, fear part or all of their jobs will be replaced.

Fewer than four in 10 millennials and three in 10 Gen Z workers feel they have the skills they'll need to succeed.

Both want businesses to help ready them to succeed in this new era, and say they're not doing enough.

Just 36 per cent of millennials and 42 per cent of Gen Z respondents reported their employers were helping them understand and prepare for the changes associated with Industry 4.0.

They also see "soft skills" as increasingly necessary during the change, with those identified essential for long-term success being interpersonal skills, confidence and motivation, and ethics and integrity.

Millennials Owen Cafe, 26, Dominique Eden, 23, and Katherine Gioseffi, 29, pictured in Brisbane. Their generation is increasingly looking to the “gig economy”. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Millennials Owen Cafe, 26, Dominique Eden, 23, and Katherine Gioseffi, 29, pictured in Brisbane. Their generation is increasingly looking to the “gig economy”. Picture: Liam Kidston.

"The fluctuating loyalty levels showcase a unique opportunity for businesses to double-down on attracting and retaining talent," said Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global talent leader.

"Businesses need to listen to what millennials are telling us and reimagine how business approaches talent management in Industry 4.0, placing a renewed focus on learning and development to help all people grow in their careers throughout their lifetimes."

Under the broad title Industry 4.0, many physical and digital technologies are combining through analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create digital enterprises that are both interconnected and capable of more informed decision-making.

Overall Deloitte's survey saw a dramatic reversal from previous millennial studies, with opinions of business and loyalty levels in jobs low.

The findings were revealed through a survey of 10,455 millennials across 36 countries.

Nearly 1850 Gen Z respondents across six countries who are just entering the workforce were also surveyed about their views on business.

Millennials included in the study were born between January 1983 and December 1994, have a degree, are employed full-time, and work predominantly in large, private-sector organisations.

Gen Z respondents in Australia, Canada, China, India, the United Kingdom and the United States were born between January 1995 and December 1999 and are currently studying for or have obtained a first/higher degree, with more than a third working either full-time (16 per cent) or part-time (21 per cent).

Millennials Matt Brandon and Alice Tidmarsh bought their first property together earlier this year in Cannon Hill, QLD. Millennials are driving optimism to buy property in 2018. Picture: John Gass/AAP
Millennials Matt Brandon and Alice Tidmarsh bought their first property together earlier this year in Cannon Hill, QLD. Millennials are driving optimism to buy property in 2018. Picture: John Gass/AAP

Among millennials, 43 per cent envision leaving their jobs within two years, and only 28 per cent are looking to stay beyond five years.

For most that's because they see the gig economy - where short-term jobs or freelance, uncontracted work is more prevalent - as a viable alternative to full-time employment, with 62 per cent willing to leave for those prospects.

Loyalty is even lower among the emerging Gen Z employees, with 61 per cent saying they would leave their current jobs within two years if given the choice.

Reasons behind the swing include a focus on flexibility.

Among those who said they would stay in their current jobs for at least five years, 55 per cent noted greater flexibility in where and when they work now compared to three years ago.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global chief executive, said the results indicated the rapid social, technological and geopolitical changes of the past year had impacted millennials' and Gen Z's views of business.

"It should be a wake-up call to leaders everywhere," he said.

"These cohorts feel business leaders have placed too high a premium on their companies' agendas without considering their contributions to society at large.

"Businesses need to identify ways in which they can positively impact the communities they work in and focus on issues like diversity, inclusion and flexibility if they want to earn the trust and loyalty of millennial and Gen Z workers."


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