Younger workers to employers: Increase pay and social awareness

The latest annual Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial survey rates cost of living, climate change, and work/life balance among younger workers’ top concerns.

People under 40 are worried about the condition of their finances and of the world around them, and they're seeking employers willing to address both areas of concern.

According to The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, cost of living is the top concern cited by both age groups. Respondents mentioned climate change second-most often in the survey of more than 23,000 Gen Zers and Millennials in 46 countries.

"This year's report shows that many [Gen Zers] and Millennials are reassessing what matters most to them as they grapple with the continual disruption and uncertainty of the last few years," Michele Parmelee, Deloitte global deputy CEO and chief people and purpose officer, said in a news release.

"This has led to a workplace reckoning, which has empowered many to demand sustained changes, including higher compensation, more meaningful and flexible work, more action to address climate change, and an increased focus on wellbeing," she added.

There is an urgent need — and opportunity — for business leaders "to redefine the talent experience to better meet people's needs", she said.

Cost of living

Thirty-six per cent of the 8,412 Millennials surveyed and 29% of the 14,808 Gen Zers listed cost of living as their top concern. Nearly half of all respondents are living "paycheque to paycheque", with 33% of Millennials and 43% of Gen Zers taking on a second job to improve their financial situation.

Even so, approximately one-third say they would leave their current role even without another job lined up. Forty per cent of Gen Zers and 24% of Millennials said they would like to leave their current job within the next two years — percentages that are down from the 2021 survey.

One-quarter of those surveyed cited climate change as a top concern. A look at the Millennials surveyed puts an exclamation point on how much value 30-somethings place on employer attitudes towards societal challenges like climate change:

  • Among Millennials who see themselves remaining with their current company for more than five years, approximately half are "very satisfied" with their company's societal impact, commitment to sustainability, and progress in creating a diverse and inclusive environment.
  • Among Millennials who would like to leave their current company within the next two years, approximately half are "not satisfied at all" with their company's commitment to those same areas.

Nearly half of survey respondents said they have put some pressure on their employer to take action related to climate change, but less than one in five believe their employer is strongly committed to the cause. Nearly two in five have rejected an employment offer because of their personal ethics.


Gen Zers and Millennials are concerned about the wellbeing of the planet but also of themselves. Alongside financial shortfalls, respondents listed mental health and burnout as the top reasons for leaving a job over the past two years.

Both age groups selected a good work/life balance as the top reason they chose to work for their current employers. Three-quarters said they prefer a "hybrid or remote working pattern", with nearly half reporting that they are working remotely at least some of the time. More than one-third of those surveyed said that working remotely has helped them save money.

"Business leaders must play a role in supporting better mental health at work and in mitigating the causes of stress and burnout," Parmelee said. "Better mental health resources, setting boundaries to protect work/life balance, creating stigma-free environments, and empowering their people to drive change are just a few of the ways leaders can support better workplace mental health."

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