Thinking about: the Millennials

iO_blog-1millennialsThey’re entering today’s workforce in vast numbers. By 2025, they’ll make up 75% of the global workforce. In just three years time, their earnings and spending power will overtake that of the baby boomers.

We’re talking about the Millennials – the biggest generation the world has ever seen. This generation, born between 1980 and the mid-1990s, thinks differently, connects differently and is impacting differently on the world.

As they enter their prime earning and spending years, here are three things we think every business should know about Millennials around the world.

Millennials want more from business than just traditional CSR

Millennials expect more from business then previous generations, driven by the fact that they need (not just want) businesses to get involved in solving the big issues they are facing. They see true responsibility as being purposeful, not just giving money, and they want to see businesses tackling issues where they can make a real, tangible difference, however big or small.

iO_blog-banner_1_Millenials73_3Millennials recognise the public sector can’t fix everything, and they want the business community to get involved. They believe business is having a positive impact, especially in supporting wealth creation and livelihoods, but 75% still think businesses are focussed too much on their own agenda and not on  the advancement of society.

They’re forcing business to become more transparent

There’s no hiding from Millennials. These digital natives see right through good words and false promises, preferring to trust what they hear through their social networks. They’re not afraid to challenge or punish brands that are not doing good, and they’ll reward those that are with recommendations and loyalty.


Half of all Millennials say they check packaging labels for positive impact when making purchasing decisions. Over three quarters recommend a company based on what it is doing for society, but just as many wish it were easier to know which companies are doing good.

They’re shaping a more meaningful workplace.

Millennials work for purpose, not pay. Yes, money is important to them, but the majority of Millennials want to work on something that is bigger than just themselves.  Millennials also demand an honest and open working culture, where traditional hierarchies are broken down so that everyone knows and can influence what’s going on. As leaders, Millennials say they would focus far more on people than today’s business leaders, who in their view place more emphasis on on profit and personal reward.


What does all this mean for business?

By bringing their ethical beliefs and expectations into the workplace, Millennials are already impacting on the very nature of the way we do business. These leaders of tomorrow are not prepared to leave their values at the door when they turn up for work. Instead, they’re sending a strong signal that it’s purpose and impact they want to see from businesses, and that it’s what they hear about and see happening out there in the world that will define who they will work for and buy from in coming years.

Reading: our sources

Mind the gaps: the 2015 Deloitte Millennial survey

InMobi Global Mobile Media Consumption: Reaching Millennials

MSL Group – The future of business citizenship

The Nielson Company – Doing well by doing good