Businesses should focus on people and purpose if they want to attract and retain a future workforce, according to a survey from Big Four firm Deloitte
The fourth annual millennial survey took answers from 7,800 graduates – now in full time employment – from 29 countries, including the UK.
Overwhelmingly, respondents thought that businesses should have a positive impact on society, a view held by 82% of graduates surveyed in emerging markets. This was a similarly held opinion among 71% of UK respondents, and 73% globally.
While it was clear that the new generation of employees is keen to work for an ethical company, only 48% of UK respondents think that businesses show strong leadership on important social issues, compared to 61% around the world.
Similarly, UK graduates are largely under the impression that businesses are often immoral, with just 39% agreeing that businesses act in an ethical manner, compared to 52% globally.
Steve Almond, chairman of Deloitte Global, and Barry Salzberg, Deloitte’s global CEO, said business leaders should take stock of this information and refocus their efforts on the purpose of business.
“The survey sends a clear and strong message to business leaders,” Almond said. “To stay engaged with millennials, they need to focus on their broader purpose and their people as much as they do on products and profits.”
“Millennials want more from business than might have been the case 50, 20, or even 10 years ago,” Salzberg agreed.
“They are sending a very strong signal to the world’s leaders that when doing business, they should do so with purpose.
“The pursuit of this different and better way of operating in the 21st century begins by redefining leadership.”
The survey goes on to show that the professional service sector – including accountancy and law firms – is the most popular sector in the UK, with 40% of respondents hoping for a career in the services industry.
This is ahead of the 34% of UK graduates who desire a career in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector, and the global 39% that wish to work in professional services.