Millennials are losing faith in businesses and their leaders when it comes to making a positive impact on society, according to Deloitte's seventh annual Millennial Survey.

The global survey of 10,455 millennials across 36 countries – including more than 200 respondents from New Zealand – found an overwhelming negative shift in millennials' feelings about business' motivations and ethics from previous surveys.

Just 48 per cent of those surveyed believed businesses behaved ethically compared with 65 per cent in 2017, while 47 per cent thought business leaders were committed to helping society, a drop from 62 per cent the previous year.

Among Kiwi respondents the figures were even lower, only 45 per cent believed businesses behaved ethically, while 42 per cent believed business leaders were committed to helping improve society.


Lauren Foster, Deloitte New Zealand director, said the results should be a wake-up call to our business leaders, especially given millennials now make up over a third of the New Zealand workforce.

"These headline results indicate that the rapid social, technological and geopolitical changes of the past year have had an impact on millennials' views, and it should be a wake-up call to our business leaders," Foster said.

The survey also found that millennials believed business success should be measured beyond financial performance, citing job creation, innovation, enhancing employees' lives and careers and making a positive impact on the environment and society as the most important areas to focus on.

However, when asked what their organisations focused on, millennials said generating profit, driving efficiencies, and producing or selling goods and services – three areas they felt should have the least focus.

"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 workers," Foster said.

The survey also highlighted a lack of loyalty among many of the respondents with 57 per cent of global respondents saying they were hoping to leave their organisation within two years.

In New Zealand, 49 per cent saw themselves leaving their current jobs within two years, while only 17 per cent said they could see themselves staying beyond five years.

"The fluctuating loyalty levels showcase a unique opportunity for businesses to double-down on attracting and retaining millennial talent," Foster said.


Respondents were also asked for their thoughts on Industry 4.0 and whether they felt business leaders were helping them to become prepared to succeed in this new era.

In New Zealand, just 23 per cent of those surveyed said their employers are helping them prepare for Industry 4.0.

"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," Foster said.