Most Millennials favour work life balance over career progression, says survey

Working Women


Businesses must adjust how they nurture loyalty among Millennials or risk losing a large percentage of their workforces, according to a survey which shows a huge demand for work life balance.

The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (Deloitte) fifth annual Millenial Survey of nearly 7,700 Millennials [people born after 1982] from 29 countries shows 44% of Millennials say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years. That figure increases to 66 percent when the time frame is extended to 2020.

Concerns regarding a lack of development of leadership skills and feelings of being overlooked were often voiced by those considering near-term career changes. But larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility and differences around business values figured high in their list of priorities, with women were more likely than men to rate personability, employee well-being and social impact as ‘more important’, according to the survey. It also shows that in most countries, work/life balance is rated more highly than career progression for Millennials who are evaluating job opportunities.

The survey shows that while they continue to express a positive view of business’ role in society and have softened their negative perceptions of business’ motivation and ethics compared to prior surveys, Millennials still want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers and society), products and purpose – and less on profits. They also say they want to spend more time discussing new ways of working, developing their skills and being mentored. Three-quarters would prefer to work from home or other locations where they feel they could be most productive. However, only 43% are allowed to do this currently.

“Millennials place great importance on their organisation’s purpose beyond financial success, remaining true to their values and opportunities for professional development. Leaders need to demonstrate they appreciate these priorities, or their organisations will continue to be at risk of losing a large percentage of their workforce,” said Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO. “Fortunately, Millennials have provided business with a roadmap of how employers can meet their needs for career satisfaction and professional development.”

The survey shows seven in 10 of those questioned believe their personal values are shared by the organisations for which they work.  Employers who provide opportunities for leadership development; connect Millennials to mentors; encourage a work/life balance; provide flexibility that allows Millennials to work where they’re most productive; give them more control over their careers; and foster cultures that encourage and reward open communications, ethical behaviour,and inclusiveness, are those that will be most successful in retaining Millennial employees, the survey shows.

Millennials’ personal goals are to own their own homes, have a partner for life and have financial security that allows them to save enough money for a comfortable retirement. The ambition to make positive contributions to their organisations’ success and/or to the world in general also rate highly.

When asked to state the level of influence different factors have on their decision-making at work, “my personal values /morals” ranked first.

“A generation ago, many professionals sought long-term relationships with employers, and most would never dream of saying ‘no’ to supervisors who asked them to take on projects,” said Renjen. “But, Millennials are more independent and more likely to put their personal values ahead of organisational goals. They are re-defining professional success, they’re proactively managing their careers, and it appears that their values do not change as they progress professionally, which could have a dramatic impact on how business is done in the future.”

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