Economy

Financial insecurity, cost of living top concerns for Gen Z and Millennials – Report

Deloitte’s 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, marking its 13th annual edition, presents an in-depth exploration of the attitudes and concerns of over 22,800 respondents across 44 countries. This year’s survey reveals cautious optimism about economic recovery, persistent financial insecurity, and evolving attitudes towards work and education amidst the rise of Generative AI (GenAI) and environmental concerns.

Economic and Social Outlook

Gen Z and millennial respondents display cautious optimism regarding the economic conditions in their countries. Approximately 32 per cent of Gen Z and 31 per cent of millennials believe the economic situation will improve in the next year. This is the highest level of optimism recorded since the 2020 pre-pandemic survey. Personal financial expectations also reflect this optimism, with 48 per cent of Gen Z and 40 per cent of millennials expecting improvement in their financial situations.

However, financial insecurity remains a significant challenge. Around 30 per cent of Gen Z and 32 per cent of millennials do not feel financially secure, and more than half live paycheck-to-paycheck. The cost of living is the top concern, surpassing other worries like climate change, unemployment, mental health, and crime.

Social and Political Uncertainty

Compared to the economic outlook, respondents are slightly more uncertain about social and political developments. Only 28 per cent of Gen Z and 26 per cent of millennials believe these situations will improve. This uncertainty is influenced by pivotal elections in many countries this year. Despite this, both generations feel empowered to influence major societal issues such as environmental protection, mental health awareness, and social equality.

Work and Purpose

A significant finding is the importance of purpose-driven work. Nearly all respondents want their work to align with their values, and many are willing to change jobs or industries to achieve this alignment. Environmental concerns and the rise of GenAI are major factors influencing career decisions. About 20 per cent have changed jobs or industries due to environmental concerns, and nearly 60 per cent believe they need to reskill due to GenAI​​ .

Mental Health and Work-Life Balance

Mental health remains a critical issue, with only about half of respondents rating their mental health as good or extremely good. Stress levels, although slightly improved, remain high, driven by financial concerns, family welfare, long working hours, and lack of recognition. There is a call for employers to prioritize mental health, as many employees feel uncomfortable discussing mental health issues at work due to fear of discrimination and stigma.

Educational Shifts

The survey highlights a shift away from traditional higher education paths. Financial constraints, family circumstances, and the pursuit of vocational training are the leading reasons for this change. Many young people believe higher education needs to evolve to better prepare them for the changing nature of work. Organisations are also expected to play a role in providing continuous learning opportunities as emerging technologies make lifelong learning essential​.

Conclusion

Deloitte’s 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey reveals a generation that is cautiously optimistic about their economic future but deeply concerned about financial security and social issues. They seek purpose in their work, prioritize mental health, and advocate for educational reforms. As they navigate a transforming world, their attitudes and actions will significantly shape the future landscape of work and society.

 

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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