8 Stats on Millennials and Leadership in the Workplace

8 Stats on Millennials and Leadership in the Workplace

Emily Smykal

millenials leadership in the workplaceIt hardly feels out of place for one generation to analyze, and sometimes shake their head at younger generations. Millennials, generally accepted as adults between ages 18 to 34 in 2015, are no exception. But beyond the handwringing about underprepared, immature young adults who would rather take embarrassing selfies than put in long hours, real questions about Millennials in the workplace are worth asking.

The Millennial generation has just overtaken Generation X as the largest portion of the American workforce. At 53.5 million strong, Millennials are on track to become the largest living generation in the U.S., and may make up 75% of the labor market by 2025.

Considering the power Millennial workers will eventually command, Deloitte conducted its fourth annual Millennial Survey at the end of last year. Just over 7,800 Millennials from 29 countries were questioned on business leadership, operations and impacts on society. The overall takeaway is that Millennials think the focus should be on people more than profits. But differing attitudes on leadership and other skills might surprise this generation’s older critics. As you read these stats, think of how you can adapt your recruiting strategy and candidate experience.

1. 75% of Millennials believe businesses are mostly focused on their own agendas

And they feel this priority comes at the expense of improving society. But 73% still think corporations have a positive impact on society in some way. And when separated based on social media use, 83% of Millennials considered to be the most socially connected believe businesses have a positive impact.

2. Globally, 53% dream of being the leader or most senior executive at their current company

This figure was higher among emerging market Millennials, 65% of whom said they want to achieve this goal, compared to just 38% in developed markets. A slightly higher percentage of Millennials would at least like to reach a senior position within their company. And overall, these figures were higher among men.

3. Just 27% of Millennial men and 21% of Millennial women describe their leadership skills as strong

Overall, 24% of Millennials consider this their strongest skill upon graduation. But 39% of all Millennials think businesses see leadership skills as the most valuable among employees. Both men and women felt they were stronger when it came to professionalism, intellectual ability, teamwork, analytical skills, and creative thinking.

4. Only 28% of Millennials think their current employer makes full use of their skills

Millennials understand the importance of leadership in the workplace, but also know there are more skills they can bring to the table. More than half of Millennials said the skills they learned when employed were more useful than those they learned while in higher education.

5. 12% of Millennials would make their own personal income a main priority if they were in charge

But 30% assume their current leadership sees this as a priority. When asked what they think compared to what the leaders in their company think, the biggest gaps came down to profit and personal reward. But Millennials came closest to agreeing with their leadership on the importance of ensuring their company’s long-term future, with only a 4% difference.

6. One-third of Millennials would choose employee well-being, growth, and development as top priorities if they were in charge

But they think less than 20% of the existing leadership in their companies would make the same choice. Some criticisms of Millennials have included accusations of self-centeredness, but this generation thinks prioritizing personal growth and development shouldn’t necessarily be discouraged in the workplace.

7. Nearly half say they would prefer to hire new employees based on their professionalism, teamwork and creative thinking

If they were in charge, that is. But Millennials think current senior leaders place more emphasis on leadership skills when hiring new staff. The candidate qualities Millennials agree with senior leaders on as being important include general business and academic knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills.

8. Just 10% of Millennials defined a true business leader as one who is focused on financial results

Instead, more than two-thirds chose strategic thinking, inspirational qualities and interpersonal skills. The lack of leadership skills identified by Millennials among themselves, and the emphasis on other qualities when describing both employees and CxOs, suggests a changing definition of the word “leader” among this generation.

This changing definition, and an overall gap between expected leadership skills and the skills Millennials feel they have arose throughout the Deloitte report. Millennials are certainly aware that their employers want to see more leadership among them, but they don’t want to lose sight of the other skills that make up a quality employee.

What To Take From All Of This

Instead of criticizing Millennials as self-absorbed, lazy, or unprepared for the workplace, employers might be better off looking at the positive side of these figures. Millennials want to grow as employees, developing their existing skills and learning new ones. And Millennials want to be part of businesses that encourage teamwork and professionalism, with a positive impact on society alongside profits. That sounds like a work environment most of us would choose, too.

Interested in learning more about what it takes to build a modern candidate experience? Check out our new “9-Point Checklist for Building a Next-Generation Candidate Experience.”

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