Millennials. They’ve come of age in a digital era. Exposed to the world’s woes − climate change, human rights abuses, recessions and more – their social and political consciousness says, ‘we expect more’. And, they’re pulling the rug from under us all.
Millennials – people born in the 1980s or 1990s − have a whistle and they’re not afraid to blow it. Their choices − how they invest their earnings, careers they pursue, innovations they drive, and more – mean the shape of business future is theirs to mould. Deloitte research shows that, by 2020, the aggregated net worth of millennials globally could reach up to $24 trillion.
Millennials are the largest proponents of so-called impact investing. Research shows that just under 70% of millennials link investment decisions to their social, political or environmental values. Only 44% of Generation X members (born from the early 1960s to late 1970s) reported the same. Then, 73% of millennials believe market-rate returns are possible from investing in companies that have a social and environmental impact.
A strong brand is not enough to lock a millennial into a sale. Headlines like ‘Amazon: devastating expose accuses Internet retailer of oppressive and callous attitude to staff’ or ‘The BBC doesn’t do equal pay: why female staff are fighting back’ erode trust. Millennials expect something that we, at Discovery, describe as shared-value – business must do well by first doing good. A business that ignores this rallying cry suffers damage to reputation and revenue.
In a world of escalating healthcare costs, millennials prize work/life balance highly. Many millennials are exercising and using technology to track training data, eating smart and smoking less. While Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers define being healthy as ‘not falling sick’, millennials define it as being well − through exercise and eating healthily.
Why does a healthy millennial population group matter? Employee health and productivity boost a company’s earnings exponentially. In 2017, 50% of the world’s population was under the age of 30. By 2025, millennials will comprise three-quarters of the global workforce.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Annual Survey found that over 40% of young people identify a sense of purpose and impact on society as one of the most important professional criteria. It’s time for the triple bottom line − ostensibly driving sustainability for People, Planet and Profit − to evolve and measurably enhance society. That’s what millennials want. Their unique worldview has forced us all to examine how we do business for decades to come – for the better.
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