Millennials more worried about job stability: Study

Office crowd in Central Business District (CBD).
Office crowd in Central Business District (CBD). ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

A turbulent 2016 - marked by terror attacks in Europe, Brexit and a contentious United States presidential election - has left millennials more apprehensive about their future and looking for job stability.

This heightened sense of insecurity among millennials was revealed in a new report by accounting firm Deloitte released yesterday.

It noted that only 36 per cent of millennials in mature markets expect to be financially better off than their parents and just 31 per cent expect to be happier.

This is in stark contrast to emerging markets, where 71 per cent of millennials - those born after 1982 - expect to be financially better off than their parents, and 62 per cent believe they will be emotionally better off.

The US is the only mature market where a majority of millennials expect to be better off than their parents.

"This pessimism is a reflection of how millennials' personal concerns have shifted," said Mr Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global chief executive.

"Four years ago, climate change and resource scarcity were among millennials' top concerns.

" This year, crime, corruption, war and political tensions are weighing on the minds of young professionals, which impact both their personal and professional outlooks."

The US is the only mature market where a majority of millennials expect to be better off than their parents.

Amid the heightened anxiety, more young professionals are looking for security and want to remain in their jobs, noted the annual survey, the sixth conducted by Deloitte.

Last year, the "loyalty gap" between those who saw themselves leaving their companies within two years and those who anticipated staying beyond five years was 17 percentage points.

This year, the balance of millennials looking to "leave soon" is only seven points.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents also said they prefer full-time employment.

Among 18 areas of personal concerns, unemployment ranked among the top concerns, said the report.

The study, conducted in September last year, was based on the views of nearly 8,000 full-time employees from 30 countries, between the ages of 19 and 35.

They have obtained a college or university degree and predominantly work in large private sector organisations.

Amid an increasingly digitised world, Deloitte also found that 40 per cent of the respondents see automation as a threat to their jobs; 44 per cent believe there will be less demand for their skills; 51 per cent believe they will have to retrain; and 53 per cent see the workplace becoming more impersonal and less human.

But many respondents also saw automation as an opportunity for creating value-added or creative activities, and to learn new skills.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Millennials more worried about job stability: Study'. Print Edition | Subscribe