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Young adults seek purpose at work but express concern over AI

Millennials and Gen Z say work/life balance is important, but pay is still a top reason many leave jobs.
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Posted at 10:40 AM, May 17, 2024

A new survey from Deloitte found that an overwhelming majority of young workers polled indicated that having a sense of purpose is essential to their overall job satisfaction and well-being.

The poll of millennials and Gen Z released this week showed that most want to work for a company that values having a positive impact on society over profit. The study polled Gen Z members born between 1995 and 2005 (members of the generation who are old enough to have entered the workforce) and millennial respondents born between 1983 and 1994.

The survey shows these adults, generally 40 years of age and younger, increasingly say work/life balance and a sense of purpose are more important than money. About 31% of millennial workers and 27% of Gen Z say work/life balance is the No. 1 factor they consider when choosing their employer.

"Gen Zs and millennials demand a lot from their employers, and from business more broadly," the report concludes. "And both generations have played a significant role in pushing the boundaries of what is expected from employers over the last decade. But what they are asking for is in fact what most employees in the workforce, regardless of age, likely want: meaningful work within purpose-driven organizations, the flexibility to balance work and personal priorities, supportive workplaces that foster better mental health, opportunities to continue to learn and grow in their careers, and competitive pay and benefits."

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Justin Boggs
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Perhaps companies are responding. More than twice as many Gen Z and millennial workers say their overall mental well-being is better than a year ago than those who said it was worse. These young adults were also almost twice as likely to say they are "very satisfied" with work/life balance than they were five years ago.

However, pay still remains an important factor for those leaving their employer. The study found that pay was the No. 1 reason Gen Z and millennials left their most recent company.

However, many expressed concerns that AI automation could disrupt work. The report found that 26% of millennials and 24% of Gen Z respondents are uncertain about AI. About 12% in both age groups said they "fear" AI in the workforce, while another 12% say it gives them anxiety.

However, over 20% say they're "excited."

The full report is available online.