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Millennials And Gen Z Pushing For Social Change And Accountability


Climate change and other societal issues remain top of
mind for New Zealand’s millennials and Gen
Zs.

Across the world people have seen a year of
intense uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, political
instability, racial discord, and severe climate events, yet
through all this, millennials and Gen Zs across have
remained determined to hold themselves and other accountable
on society’s most pressing issues. They believe we have
arrived at a pivotal moment in history and are demanding
changes which will result in a more equitable and
sustainable world.

Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and
Gen Z Survey, now in its 10th year, interviewed more than
22,000 people across the world, including 500 New
Zealanders, and found respondents are channelling their
energies towards meaningful action and in turn, as we have
found over the years, these generations expect organisations
to do more when it comes to societal issues.

Deloitte
New Zealand Human Capital partner, Lauren Foster, says
“Deloitte has been conducting the millennial survey for 10
years and over that decade we’ve seen millennials and Gen
Zs hold true to their values.”

“This commitment to
values was demonstrated with 43% of millennials and 47% of
Gen Zs in New Zealand indicating that they’ve made choices
over the type of work they’d do and the organisation
they’re willing to work for based on their personal
beliefs,” she said.

Climate change and protecting
the environment remained the top area of concern for
millennials, and also took the top spot for Gen Zs, who have
been interviewed in New Zealand for the first time in this
year’s survey. This was the number one concern for all
millennial’s a year ago but in 2021, it has slipped to
third place with health care and unemployment surpassing it,
most likely due to the heightened impact COVID-19 has had in
countries outside of New Zealand.

“New Zealand
millennials are also feeling more positive about the
economic situation for the country compared to global
millennials, but it has also improved year-on-year since
2019, said Ms Foster.

In 2019 only 21% of New Zealand
millennials expected the overall economic situation to
improve over the next 12 months, this increased to 22% in
2020 but has seen a significant jump to 34% in 2021. Gen Zs
also feel positive about the hopes for the country’s
economic outlook with 37% believing it will improve.
Globally only 27% of both millennials and Gen Zs believe the
economic situation in their county will
improve.

“The relative normalcy in which New
Zealanders get to live their lives in a COVID-19 world is
highlighted in the results of the Millz Mood impact score.
The mood score for New Zealand millennials increased by five
points to 39 from 2020, while globally this decreased three
points to 34. Global Gen Zs also had their mood score
decrease by three points to 36, whereas the first measure
for Gen Zs in New Zealand was taken this year and came in at
a surprising 43,” Ms Foster said.

However, the
stress and prevalence of anxiety across all respondents
remained high in the 2021 survey, and highlights there is
still further work needed to address mental health
issues.

“In New Zealand 40% of millennials and 45%
of Gen Zs reported feeling anxious or stressed all or most
of the time, which aligned closely with what we saw
globally,” said Ms Foster.

This stress is also
spilling into the workplace with almost a third of all
respondents – 31% of millennials and 35% of Gen Zs –
have taken time off work due to stress and anxiety. Yet more
than 58% of millennials said that have not spoken openly
about this with their employer which could imply mental
health continues to carry a stigma.

“There continues
to be a need for workplaces to foster an environment which
supports employees mental as well as physical health and
wellbeing,” Ms Foster said.

“It was disappointing
to see in New Zealand that only 31% of millennials and 33%
of Gen Zs felt their employer had taken action to support
their mental wellbeing during the pandemic. We also saw
similar results when respondents were asked if they felt
plans and policies are being implemented at work to support
their wellbeing moving forward.

“For employees to
thrive it is important they have a work environment where
they feel supported and able to speak openly about
challenges they are experiencing,” said Ms
Foster.

The survey also saw the continuation of the
decline in millennials (47%) and Gen Zs (48%) thinking
business has a positive impact on society. This figure is
the first time it has dipped below 50% and marks a drop of
almost 30 points since 2017. This sentiment was particularly
strong amongst New Zealand millennials where only 40%
believe business has a very or fairly positive impact on
society.

“Regardless of the global pandemic,
millennials and Gen Zs are values-drive and action-oriented,
and they hold themselves, business and wider society to
account. They expect business to support their vision and
implement measures to create a better future for
everyone,” Ms Foster said.

For more information and
to view the full results of Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial
Survey, visit: https://www2.deloitte.com/millennial-survey-2021.html

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