Why millennials want flexibility in the workplace

Johannesburg – Having a sense of purpose is the greatest driver influencing a millennial’s decision to choose a job.

This is according to the Deloitte’s 2016 Annual Millennial Survey. Tumelo Seaketso, partner and director at Deloitte Consulting shared some of the findings from the survey at a round table discussion hosted by Tower Bridge in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“Personal values has a great influence on how millennials make decisions on where they work and the employers they choose,” she said. If millennials do not believe in the goals that their employers want them to achieve, or feel that it compromises their integrity, they would consider moving on.

The global survey, with 7 700 participants, including 200 from South Africa, showed that two-thirds of millennials state that the organisation’s purpose is the reason they choose to work there. They also prefer to have a collaborative work environment where they can share information and they value transparency, said Seaketso.

“They believe in innovation in business, and finding innovative ways to solve problems in businesses.”

Flexibility is key

Millennials want flexible careers that play to their strengths, said Seaketso. The survey showed that 66% of millennials plan to leave their current employment by 2020, in South Africa this is 76% millennials. “One in four millennials consider leaving their jobs in the next year,” she said.

This is often because millennials want their work to have a sense of purpose. Most millennials are concerned about the “people” aspect of their jobs which includes their contribution to society and connection to their leaders. Others leave because they believe their talents are underutilised, she explained.

Flexibility in the way the work is done and outcomes are achieved is another factor. “Millennials desire flexibility on a range of things,” said Prof. Andrew Thatcher, chair of industrial and organisational psychology at Wits University. Often millennials move across different companies throughout their careers in order to gain skills.