A Deloitte Ireland survey released today has found that Gen Z and millennials are concerned about an economic downturn but desire a better work/life balance, and want more flexible working arrangements than they currently have.
The post pandemic ‘Great Resignation’ theme is being witnessed as a global trend, and is also permeating Irish workplaces. Less stress, better career advancement opportunities and more attractive conditions like hybrid and remote working, are driving employees to leave organisations that do not support these needs. Businesses also recognise the challenge with CEOs ranking labour and skills shortage as the number one external issue expected to influence or disrupt their business strategy in the next 12 months, according another recent Deloitte survey of global CEOs.
The Irish participants who took part in the Millennial and Gen Z global study of over 45 countries, responded that they are more willing than ever to leave for fresh opportunities. They are seeking options to provide them with better salary/reward, work life balance, higher flexibility and opportunity offered by employers, and, to a lesser extent, organisations focused on climate change. In the wake of the pandemic, many started to reassess what is important to them and to make decisions based on this reassessment. This makes for an interesting employment climate – full of risk but also full of opportunities.
Gary Notley, Director for Human Capital, Deloitte Ireland said: “The top trend that stood out in the Irish context in this survey is a strong desire and decisiveness around a better work/life balance. The fact that one-in-four of the millennials surveyed have already left their roles due to burnout – no doubt exacerbated by the demands and stresses of the pandemic – shows that this is area employers really need to address and focus on, if they are to retain talent. While Ireland did experience the ‘Great Resignation’, there is however an opportunity to redefine it to the ‘Great Reimagination’. Organisations can recover and thrive by reflecting, revisiting, and reinventing work to better leverage technology, harness the power of workforce, and reimagine the workplace.
“One in two millennials and one in three of Gen Zs said that better work/life balance is the main consideration when looking at an organisation’s offering in 2022. This correlates with the second trend around mental health. Globally and in Ireland, Gen Z employees have been most affected by anxiety, stress and mental health issues over 2021 and 2022.
“The concern around the cost of living is much higher in Ireland when compared with global figures, with 55% of Irish millennials citing the cost of living as being their number one greatest concern, in comparison to 36% globally. The fact that three in ten of the Gen Z generation also do part-time work to supplement their income, really underpins this critical issue.
“Climate change is also a key concern with three quarters of both cohorts in Ireland agreeing that the world is at a tipping point in responding to climate change. Concern about this is becoming increasingly pivotal in the decision-making processes of those in their 20s, 30s and 40s,” Notley concluded.
Work/Life Balance and increased cost of living
In Ireland, some employees are at a breaking point – either mentally or financially. As well as cost of living concerns, most of the Gen Zs (75%) and millennials (77%) who took part in the survey prefer hybrid or fully remote work, but less than half currently have the option to do so.
This presents an opportunity for employers to move closer to flexible ways of working, providing the balance so desired by today’s workforce. An additional benefit is that it expands the talent pool beyond the radius of an office location and allows people to factor in cost of living when considering staying or moving on from their current organisation.
Mental Health Factor
Nearly half of Gen Zs say they feel stressed all or most of the time. Millennial stress levels are also high but down slightly from last year. Employers are seen to be making an effort to address workplace mental health issues, with more than half of respondents saying their employer is more focused on workplace well-being and mental health, since the start of the pandemic.
However, many do not believe the increased focus has resulted in any meaningful impact on employees. Employers have an opportunity to rethink this area and impact the health and well-being of employees through assistance and wellbeing programmes, coaching and by building a culture of openness.
Over 90% of all Millennials and Gen Zs globally are now actively trying to impact the environment through positive choices. In Ireland almost one-in-three of both groups ranked climate change and protection of the environment as a top three concern.
Nine in ten of both groups surveyed here said they try to minimise their personal impact on the environment, but only 6% of Irish Millennials and 12% of Gen Zs believe that large companies are taking tangible actions to combat climate change. Their feelings about the Irish Government’s performance rate even more poorly with only 3% of Irish millennials and 7% of Gen Zs here agreeing that they are highly committed to climate change.