20 May 2019: The re-elected federal government could face a continued challenge engaging with a significant segment of the population, with Deloitte’s latest Millennial Survey finding that millennials and Gen Z have lost trust in government.
Two thirds (67 percent) of Australian millennials think government leaders have no ambition beyond wanting to retain or increase their power. More than half (53 percent) believe politicians have a negative impact on the world; and 42 percent have absolutely no trust in political leaders as sources of reliable or accurate information.
Deloitte’s eighth annual Global Millennial Survey provides a pulse check on the hopes and aspirations of the world’s future leaders. This year Deloitte interviewed more than 16,000 millennials around the world (those born between Jan 1983 and Dec 1994 and aged 25 to 36 today) and Gen Zs (born between Jan 1995 and Dec 2002, aged 17 to 24), including 500 Australian millennials and 301 Australian Gen Zs.
Deloitte Global Workforce Transformation Lead Partner, David Brown, said: “Millennials and Gen Z are no longer the ‘future’ workforce, they are the present, making up more than 40 percent of Australia’s working population. Organisations that fail to change their leadership, business, people strategies and practices do so at their peril.
“This year’s survey found both generations were disappointed with traditional institutions like government, sceptical of business’s motives, and pessimistic about economic and social progress.
“Despite Australia’s strong economy, younger generations have become wary about the world and their place within it. The millennials and Gen Z, collectively ‘MillZ’, are a generation disrupted, perpetually caught in a crossfire of social, political, and economic commotion.”
Climate change the biggest concern
Climate change and protecting the environment was the number one concern among both generations globally, at 29 percent. Australian respondents were even more worried, with 31 percent of millennials and 37 percent of Gen Z noting their personal concern.
“We cannot deny that climate change has become a leading social issue for younger generations. They hold deep concerns for the way our environment is being treated,” said David Brown.
“There was considerable agitation around climate change leading up to the federal election and the new government must address the issue, or face polarising these generations even further.”
Declining faith in economy and leadership
Both generations’ economic view of the world is quite bleak. The economic sentiment among millennials is at its lowest in six years. Only 26 percent of global respondents expect the economic situation in their countries to improve in the coming year. That figure has never been lower than 40 percent since Deloitte started the survey eight years ago.
Economic optimism is even worse at home. Only 19 percent of Australian millennials and 20 percent of Gen Zs think the economic outlook will improve. This is down from 2018, when 34 percent of Australian millennials believed the economic situation would improve.
Both generations’ outlook on leadership is also pessimistic. Political and religious leaders are among the least trusted sources of reliable and accurate information within Australia (11 and 13 percent respectively). Whereas leaders of NGOs and not-for-profit organisations are among the most trusted sources (25 percent).
“Our research found that almost half (49 percent) of Gen Z believe universities are best placed to solve the world’s most pressing challenges, compared to less than a quarter (22 percent) putting their faith in government, and only 11 percent believing business is up to the challenge,” said David Brown.
“Despite some exceptions, business and government generally appears to be out of step with the aspirations and expectations of the MillZ generations. They need to pay attention and listen more, as these are the leaders of the future.”
Stark contrasts between the generations emerge when each were asked about their aspirations. For Australian millennials, the number one priority is to travel, whereas Gen Zs would prefer to buy a home first (see tables below).
Travel is still important for Gen Zs but when it comes to having families, their ambitions outstrip millennials; 56 percent for Gen Z, and just 34 percent for millennials. And in all cases, Australia’s MillZ are ahead of their global counterparts.
“Most Gen Zs would still be living with their parents or have only recently moved out, so it’s understandable that a home and a family are important parts of their lives. On the other hand, millennials have more exposure to the reality of house prices and wages, so they recognise travel is a more achievable ambition,” said David Brown.
“When asked if they were ‘satisfied’ with their life nowadays, only 29 percent of both Australian and global millennials said yes. And 25 percent of Australian Gen Zs said yes, compared to 27 percent globally.”