Since 2013 Deloitte has conducted an annual global survey looking at the status of Millennials in the workplace.

These surveys can be viewed and downloaded:

2013 Global Millennial Survey

2014 Global Millennial Survey

2015 Global Millennial Survey

The survey for 2016 has been released and I have read through it and reflected on some of the main points that they highlighted in their report. The full report can be downloaded:

2016 Global Millennial Survey

In their Executive Summary the report lays out it’s key finding (pasted below). This reflection is not just a regurgitation of Deloittes perspectives, but rather thoughts and perspectives on why those results may have come out.  Please comment freely and engage with my views, the more views and opinions the more valuable the discussion of the report will be.

Deloitte Survey Summary Statement:

Millennials, in general, express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. This “loyalty challenge” is driven by a variety of factors.

Millennials feel under-utilized and believe they’re not being developed as leaders.

They continue to express positive views of businesses’ role in society;

they have softened their negative perceptions of corporate motivation and ethics, and cite a strong alignment of values.

However, Millennials feel that most businesses have no ambition beyond profit,

and there are distinct differences in what they believe the purpose of business should be and what they perceive it to currently be.

Millennials often put their personal values ahead of organizational goals, and several have shunned assignments (and potential employers) that conflict with their beliefs.


Retention PercentsThe retention window for Millennials is less than 5yrs. Any organisations planning their Talent Development programmes using periods anywhere near this time frame should expect to have very little ROI on their investments.

2yrs is the sweet spot for Millennial retention. Any benefits or value expected to be realised on return for recruitment or development costs, should be calculated on this time frame.  There will be some staff who stay a little longer, but there will also be some who leave earlier. Using this as the strategic reference point will be important when considering Millennial retention.

For an organisation’s most mobile and marketable talent on-boarding ROI related to the cost of recruitment should be covered within 12 months, with any professional development investments generating returns within 6 months of completion. Longer time frames will result in the business not gaining the full benefit from the recruitment or development of the individual. This represents a significant constraining of the timeframes traditionally used.

Leaders working with Millennials should expect to have turned over 2/3 of their team by 5 yrs and probably 1/2 within 3yrs, anticipate an acceleration in turnover around the 18month mark, peaking at 30 months.

Retention Markets

Emerging markets ARE more volatile than Developed markets, but not significantly more so.

If this graphic is cross referenced with the first graphic:

– In Emerging markets expect peak of turnover to be closer to 24month mark, in Developed markets it will trend closer to 36months mark….

But, across the Millennial demographic, regardless of geographic locale, they will be leaving within 5yrs. This is not a factor of dissatisfaction with their employers but rather a factor of their value system being formed by a world that changes rapidly, and where information flows freely. Staying beyond 5 years runs the risk of being seen as static in a dynamic world. They believe that this will negatively impact on their marketability. For older generations stability was a desirable trait, for the Millennials the opposite is true.

Leadership Development

Leadership Dev 1

Leadership development and opportunities for leadership correlate to the turnover period, with those who feel they are receiving more of it being prepared to consider staying longer. This isn’t a guarantee that they will stay, but it does mean that they are more open to the possibility.

Nearly 3/4 of those who are going to leave within 2 yrs believe that they aren’t being developed as leaders. It goes one layer deeper because they also believe that they are largely being overlooked as potential leaders. These factors cause them to look to move sooner than their more engaged peers.

There is also a concerning trend in those who are considering staying for longer than 5 years. Most of them believe that they are being considered for potential leadership positions. However, the majority of this group also feels that their leadership skills aren’t being fully developed. So, they are showing evidence of leadership ability, it is being acknowledged, but then being under-developed…. this will generate frustration and resentment – and eventually lead to these more committed individuals leaving sooner than they would if identification of potential and development of that potential were more closely aligned.

Values and Work

Values and Work

Millennials want the world to be a better place because of their input and value add. So their personal values and worldview are a factor in the way they make decisions at work.

Millennials want to be part of businesses that are aligned with their values. If, for some reason, the organisation’s values or expectations aren’t aligned with those of the Millennials, they will go with their conscience and not be too worried about the alignment with the organisation. Avoiding trouble or conflict because of this decision is not a significant constraint.

The impact on colleagues of this prioritisation of their values is a low priority. This is not because of self-centred or selfish orientation, but rather their prioritisation of their values. This perspective is reflected in their willingness to be personally exposed or accept personal risk if necessary.

Cultural influencers

Cultural Influencers

The biggest gap (16%) between the culture present in organisations where Millennials will stay longer, and those where they will leave earlier is based on the way information flows.  Millennials have grown up in a world of transparent information flow, and free access to all they need to know in order to get something done. It stands to reason then, that cultures that constrain the flow of information will experience a significantly higher rate of turnover than those that facilitate its free transfer.

The cultural dynamic that registers the lowest difference between the those who will stay longer or leave sooner is oversight. Whether Millennials are managed closely or not has least impact on their retention. Millennials are used to their seniors being engaged in their lives. From the time they were very young they have had parents, teachers, and other elders much more engaged in their lives than older generations experienced. Consequently, they are not perturbed by overly engaged leaders. But, they are also Digital Natives and so are able to use technology to work effectively with little oversight. This is a different view to that of Gen X, who pushed back strongly against unnecessary oversight, at the same stage of life.

Attraction factors

Attraction Factors 1

The Top 2 issues of Work/Life Balance and Leadership opportunities are consistent with other info that indicates that personal values are the biggest concern for them. The importance of work / life balance is reflective of being able to express their values as / when / where they need to.

Offer opportunities to develop Millennials’ leadership abilities and they will be drawn into that culture. This needs to be cross-referenced with other graphics in this report that indicate that this must be translated into actual growth opportunities, or else they will leave due to frustration related to being identified as a leader but not developed as one.

The Top 2 traits in this list are reinforced by the next 3 – Flexibility (#3) and Meaning (#4) reflect Work / Life balance; Professional development (#5) reflects opportunities to be leaders.

Company and leader’s brands and profiles are less important than the Millennial’s own ability to be true to their values and have opportunity to make an impact (as leaders). Organisations that offer these spaces will quickly become “Employers of Choice” for their target Millennial Talent.

Attraction Factors 2

A sense of purpose is linked to the recognition that professional development investment and opportunities offer. If I am being noticed and given opportunities for development then my sense of purpose related to the context within which this is happening is enhanced.  It is not surprising that the biggest differences between short-term and medium-term commitment lie in these three areas. But, older individuals also need to acknowledge that these are basic human drivers of a sense of fulfilment, and are not unique Millennial character traits.

A Day in the Life of…..


Millennials want to be developed as leaders, i.e. they want the abilities they already have to be grown – this is reflected in many of the responses in this report, but reinforced again by their perspective of an ideal amount of time spent on it per week.

The juxtaposition of the low actual hours spent in leadership development and coaching versus the proportionally high hours spent on emails (one of the Millennials least favoured modes of communication) indicates that Millennials are still being treated as low-level “grist for the mill” and not being seen and managed as future leaders and executives.

Organisations that want to attract and retain Millennial talent need to treat them as individuals who are able to contribute value now, rather than only at some time in the future.

Alignment Areas

Alignment Areas

Moving forward is not just about addressing areas where Millennnials need to “get with the program” – though these areas are definitely there and need to be acknowledged and addressed by any Millennial talent who want to succeed in the world of work.

It is also a requirement for organisations and leaders – they need to accept some items onto their agenda where they will work on aligning themselves with Millennial expectations, thereby becoming the “Magnets for Talent” that so many of them want to be.

You can download our TomorrowToday eBook on attracting, retaining and engaging with the Millennial generation here. 

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