By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce so attracting and retaining the best young talent will be critical for businesses to retain their edge. Their aspirations will define the culture of the 21st century workplace but there is often a significant gap between what millennials expect from employers and what they experience (1).

Millennials have shown themselves to be ambitious and willing to learn but will quickly move on from employers who don’t meet their needs.

Here at Global Action Plan, we’ve trawled the research into what millennials really want from their employers, here’s our top 5 tips:

1) They want to learn

A recent PWC survey found that millennials most prized benefit is their continued learning and development (1). They want to work for innovative employers offering exciting opportunities to build their skills and knowledge. They are ambitious, optimistic and want to progress quickly. Opportunities to learn were prized even more highly than flexibility or salary.

2) They are values driven

Millennial employees want a sense of purpose in their work to match their personal values. They want to feel passionate about what they do and enjoy their work. They want to work for employers who make a positive contribution to the world, and don’t put profits above people and planet. A survey by Deloitte found that profit as the sole measure of success is rejected by 92% of millennials (2).

3) They want to be happy and healthy

When asked what would most help them to live a happier and more fulfilled life, being physically and mentally healthy topped the list for UK Millennials (3). Mental health came out as even more important than physical health, and with good reason as young people’s rates of unhappiness, depression and anxiety have risen by 70% in the last 25 years (4).

One international survey found that British millennials have the second worst mental wellbeing in the world, only second to Japan (5). Supporting the mental wellbeing of employees not only shows that you are a caring employer, but also helps reduce sickness and promotes productivity, with happier employees being shown to be 10-12% more productive.(6)

4) They want flexibility

Flexibility and work-life balance are very important to this group. They don’t see why they should be tied to a desk in the office when technology gives them the freedom to work anywhere, anytime.

However, recent political events have led to less optimism about the future and most millennials now prefer the security of a full time job to working freelance or as a consultant (7). They are more loyal to employers than they were a few years ago and are less likely to run off and set up a start-up, but still crave the flexibility of freelance. With flexible working being shown to have a positive impact on organisational performance and personal wellbeing, it makes good business sense to give them what they want.

5) They want to make an impact

They want to have a positive social impact and feel accountable for some of the big problems of the world, but feel less able to exert influence over positive change. For example, in a Deloitte survey 59% felt accountable for protecting the environment, but only 38% felt able to exert influence over this issue (7). They believe that business has the potential to be a force for positive social change, and it is in the workplace that they feel they can have the most impact. They feel more able to influence their peers, customers and suppliers than they do leaders, so small scale, immediate, local opportunities to make a difference can really help empower employees to exert their influence.

Would your organisation like to take part in an international Research Project about Millennials wellbeing, values and goal achievement?

Global Action Plan has teamed up with an international panel of academic experts in the fields of motivation, wellbeing, values and sustainability to develop an exciting new goal setting course called 'Goals for Good'. The course is being offered for free to 18-30 year old employees willing to take part in this ground breaking research.

The course supports participants to set personal and professional goals and set long term aspirations for their future that align to their personal values.

Goals for Good can help you deliver an attractive package to your early career employees that will:

• Show employees that you are investing in their personal and professional development
• Support the mental health and wellbeing of your employees.
• Show employees that you are a values driven organisation that supports employees to have a positive impact on the wider world.

The course is run over 3 x 2 hour sessions, which can be run in house for groups of 15-20 employees.
Sign up to take part in our series of free courses offered from January to March 2018.

Get in touch at: [email protected] or call Natasha Parker on 07824360781
Find out more:


(1) PWC. 2011. Millennials at Work: Re-shaping the workplace. Accessed at

(2) Wojewoda, N. 2013. How to Engage Youth to Drive Corporate Sustainability. Oxford: Do Sustainability

(3) Inkling report No.1 – UK Millenials. 2016.

(4) Royal Society of Public Health. 2017. Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. [online] Accessed at on the 21.02.2018.

(5)Broadbent, E. et al., 2017. What The World’s People Think And Feel: Generation Z Global Citizenship Survey. Available at: Young People Report %28digital%29 NEW %281%29.pdf.

(6)Oswald, A.J., Proto, E., Sgroi, D. 2014. Happiness and Productivity, JOLE 3rd Version, University of Warwick

(7)The Deloitte Millenial Survey. 2017.