Businesses risk losing top talent

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JOHANNESBURG – In the next year, given the choice, one in four global Millennials would quit his or her current job and do something different, according to Deloitte’s fifth annual Millennial Survey.

The figure increases when the time frame is expanded to five years with 76 percent of South African Millennials surveyed expecting to quit their current employer by 2020. In general, the intention to move on is greater in emerging markets, at 69 percent, than mature economies, at 61 percent.

“It is thus imperative for businesses to adjust how they nurture loyalty among Millennials or risk losing a large percentage of their workforces,” says human capital leader for Deloitte in South Africa, Werner Nieuwoudt.

Millennials currently rank as the largest grouping in SA’s population of almost 54 million, according to Deloitte.

“The potential exodus is not only linked to junior appointments but even those Millennials in senior positions expressed the intention to leave their organisations relatively soon,” says Nieuwoudt. In the current survey, about one in five respondents are either the head of a department or division or have a position within his or her senior management team or board.

“Clearly, Millennials no longer have the potential to shape the fortunes of their organisations; many are already in positions to do so,” says Nieuwoudt. “However, while they occupy such influential positions and have presumably enjoyed satisfactory career trajectories, a majority still believe they will leave their current businesses in the next five years.’

‘’While this naturally represents gains for new employers this is a significant amount of senior talent (and investment) to be walking out the door,’’ he adds.

Concerns regarding a lack of development of leadership skills and feelings of being overlooked were often voiced by those surveyed considering near-term career changes. However, larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility, and differences around business values emerged as a larger influencer of opinion and behaviour.

Millennials appear to be guided by strong values at all stages of their careers; it’s apparent in the employers they choose, the assignments they’re willing to accept, and the decisions they make as they take on more senior-level roles. While they continue to express a positive view of business’ role in society and have softened their negative perceptions of business’ motivation and ethics compared to prior surveys, Millennials still want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers, and society), products, and purpose—and less on profits.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO, says business leaders need to demonstrate they appreciate these priorities, or their organisations will continue to be at risk. “Fortunately, Millennials have provided business with a roadmap of how employers can meet their needs for career satisfaction and professional development,” he says.

Deloitte leaders will be discussing the Deloitte Millennial Survey and the impact of Millennials on business and employers at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos, Switzerland, from January 20-23.-IOL

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