(Australian Associated Press)
Young Australians’ confidence in the ethics of business organisations has plummeted to a four-year low, with millennials no longer convinced they’re a force for good.
The percentage of millennials who say business has a positive impact on society has dropped from 72 per cent in 2017 to 45 per cent this year, according to a study published by Deloitte on Wednesday.
The annual global survey of 10,000 millennials – born between 1983 and 1994 – found those in Australian are more pessimistic about economic prosperity than their global counterparts, with terrorism, climate change and income equality their top concerns.
Less than half of the 337 Australians surveyed (47 per cent) believe businesses behave ethically, with 83 per cent saying business focuses on its own agenda rather than considering wider society (up from 69 per cent last year).
“It’s alarming to see this reversal of confidence in business,” said David Hill, Deloitte Australia’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Companies need to orientate their business toward profit with purpose.”
The survey revealed flexibility and a positive work culture were priorities for millennials, who also wanted their employers to help them prepare for increasing automation.
Deloitte Australia National Human Capital Leader David Brown says the research reveals an opportunity for business leaders to engage with millennials, who make up 50 per cent of the workforce.
Similar to last year’s findings, millennials’ loyalty to their current employer remains limited with 44 per cent stating they expect to leave their company within the next two years.
For the first time, Gen Z employees – born between 1995 and 1999 – were also surveyed about their attitudes towards work, with 59 per cent saying they expected to leave their employer within two years.
“Business leaders ignore the insights from this research at their peril,” Mr Brown told AAP.
Australian companies are lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to preparing the next generation for Industry 4.0, also known as the automation and artificial intelligence revolution.
Mr Brown said companies need to run development programs to help equip millennials for automation and provide continuous re-skilling opportunities.
“The skill sets we currently have are becoming redundant at a faster rate,” he said.