The growing influence of the millennial generation has ushered in a rush to understand them. With 50 per cent of the world’s population being under 30, businesses are seeking to figure out the ‘millennial mindset’ for the purposes of recruitment, retention and talent management.

In a bid to recognise this new request for knowledge, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has released its annual Global Shapers Survey which sought the views of more than 30,000 under-30s from over 180 countries.

Murat Sönmez, Chief Business Officer and Member of the Managing Board at the WEF said the report is designed to help those wishing to find out more about the generation:

The findings on technology, business, governance and more are rich with insights for leaders who want to understand what their customers, employees and future leaders and competitors value ”

Some of the findings are unsurprising; climate change, war and inequality dominate the list of main concerns. But the study also challenges established opinions about the generations attitudes to work.

The WEF study finds that salary remains the most important criteria when considering a job, with 49.3 per cent ranking this as most important. A ‘sense of purpose’ comes in at second with 40.6 per cent, and opportunity for career advancement ranking ahead of work-life balance at 40 per cent to ,

That sense of purpose is a key factor in their job satisfaction reiterates the message that young people care for others and their environment – they care about impact – and they want work to afford them the opportunity to learn and grow both professionally and personally. In all, it reinforces the idea that they have a strong social consciousness.

Just 16 per cent said they would be willing to sacrifice work and salary ‘in order to enjoy life’. Interestingly, more than 80 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to move to another country in order to advance their career or find a new job with preferences going to countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

With technological advances and opportunities for global mobility becoming more accessible, it is not surprising that a large majority of young people are willing to live outside their country of residence in order to find a job or advance their career (81.1 per cent).

America topped the list as the most attractive global destination for work at 18 per cent, followed by Canada at 12.4 per cent with the UK following with 9.6 per cent in third place, ahead of Germany, Australia and Switzerland.

The report also found that according to young people, the most important contribution that businesses make to society is to “create jobs” (30.5 per cent)

Concerning young people’s own experience, business can do three things to create a youth-friendly culture in the workplace: provide “opportunities to contribute to vision and strategy” (41.4 per cent), offer “mentoring and reverse mentoring” (34.3 per cent) and ensure there is a culture that “accepts failure as a learning experience” (33.9 per cent). The next most popular  choice is to allow “self-managed work schedules” (25.2 per cent).







Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.