Quantcast

It's not just jobs — millennials want a kinder, cleaner, smarter society

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 29 2014 7:50 a.m. MST

Young people want jobs, a new study shows, but they have their eyes set on social change. (Shutterstock) Young people want jobs, a new study shows, but they have their eyes set on social change. (Shutterstock)

A new survey shows that young people want social change, not just economic change.

Deloitte Consulting surveyed almost 8,000 people born in the late 1980s to the early 2000s in 28 countries. In both developing and developed nations, millennials emphasized social challenges over economic ones — prioritizing social equality, education and safety above financial well-being. Asked what are the top issues facing society, only one of the top three was economic. Given global economic conditions, it's not surprising that unemployment ranked high (37 percent), but climate change (32 percent) and wealth inequality (32 percent) also topped the list.

"In a world in which 'national success' is typically defined by whether Gross National Product is rising or falling and at what rates, it is refreshing to see the next generation so emphatically recognizes the importance of addressing social changes," wrote Michael Green of the Huffington Post.

Millennials expect businesses and government to measure success in more than just financial performance, but they also want work organizations to support innovation and creativity.

Generation Y will comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, according to the survey, and the vast majority (78 percent) said ability to innovate would be a major factor when choosing where to work. They also want companies to foster leadership ability, and 75 percent believe their organizations could do more to develop future leaders.

"To attract and retain talent, business needs to show millennials it is innovative and in tune with their world view," Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg told the Economic Times.

Overall, young people felt that governments had the largest potential to address society's biggest issues but are failing to do so, and felt businesses could do more — 50 percent said they want to work for businesses with ethical practices.

A tendency toward social-mindedness may be a result of charitable giving and an eagerness to participate in public life: 43 percent of millennials actively volunteer, 63 percent donate to charities and 52 percent have signed petitions.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company