Why don't older generations like millennials

Corona does not shake Generation Y and Z.

This is how the corona pandemic can also be viewed: Stress levels such as the climate are recovering and everything else was not great before. A study now shows that Millennials and Generation Z will not let the Corona crisis overwhelm them.


The baby boomers are followed by two generations on the labor market who are agile and solution-oriented in dealing with uncertainties and are surprisingly resilient in the Corona crisis. This is how the update of the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2020 can be summarized. How does that fit into the picture of the very young, the school leavers and university graduates of Generation Z, who are just 18 to 25 years old starting their careers after the summer vacation?

2020 | OriginalPaper | Book chapter

Generation "You can do this"

A field report on looking for and finding purpose in sustainability

The chapter is dedicated to Ann-Sophie Czech, a representative of Generation Y, and her passion for sustainable issues. The description of her academic career allows the reader to participate in her thoughts and experiences during the decisive years of a “Gen Y”.

The image that clings to them seems fixed: fear of commitment, consumer-oriented, demanding and quickly dissatisfied. Employers fear a high willingness to switch if they cannot meet their needs. Nevertheless, the job market has now got used to millennials. They are between 25 and 37 years old and are considered the self-loving, performance-optimized world savers. They are the seekers of meaning. The alternative designation Generation Y is therefore to be understood as an onomatopoeic allusion to their habit of constant questioning: Why? Can such moody employees even be built on in times of crisis? The self-reports that both generations gave during the pandemic call for a swift revision of all prejudices.

Millennials largely unconcerned despite Corona

With around 9,000 respondents from 13 countries, including 800 participants from Germany, the business services provider Deloitte added the Pulse Survey to the values ​​of its first survey in the spring. The aim was to find out how the changes caused by Covid-19 have affected the psyche of the young generations, their private lives and their attitudes towards work, politics and the environment. It turns out that the pandemic is perceived as the first far-reaching global crisis in the conscious experience of the respondents. The studies of the previous three years were still headlined with growing fear of the future, dwindling confidence and increasing pessimism. Now they are less concerned about their financial situation - and feel less stressed than they did before the pandemic:

When asked about ...

End of 2019


End of 2019


May 2020


May 2020


... financial worries

67 percent

64 percent

53 percent

51 percent

... constant stress

49 percent

49 percent

30 percent

37 percent

... sick leave due to stress

23 percent

17 percent

33 percent

22 percent

Source: Deloitte Millennial Survey 2020

Among all the global challenges, young Germans are particularly worried about the climate and the environment. While the refugee issue worries older millennials, the younger generation worries about growing nationalism and political extremism. Overall, the pandemic has improved the view of the social environment and the needs of other people. Both generations (around 60 percent each) stated that empathy for their environment and the willingness to actively provide help increased during the pandemic.

  • Generation Y worries in May 2020 (early 2019)
    • Climate change and environmental protection: 36 percent (38 percent)
    • Terrorism: 20 percent (23 percent)
    • Immigration and displacement: 18 percent (21 percent)
  • Generation Z worries in May 2020 (early 2019)
    • Climate change and environmental protection: 41 percent (45 percent)
    • Terrorism: 19 percent (25 percent)
    • Nationalism and extremism: 17 percent (24 percent)

Is everything great in the job for Gen Y and Gen Z?

The fear of unemployment, which ranks second or third in the world among people of the same age, apparently plays a subordinate role for young German workers. For a good half of both generations (Y: 45 percent; Z: 47 percent) the pandemic did not affect job status or income. Overall, they are positive about their employers. This is mainly due to the fact that they felt supported by measures such as flexible working during the pandemic (Y: 67 percent; Z: 70 percent), which in turn strengthened loyalty to the employer. 59 percent of millennials and 60 percent of Gen Z said that the employer measures they experienced during Corona were able to persuade them to bond over the long term. Among the milllenials known as job nomads, the value of employer loyalty has even improved by six percentage points over five years (2019: 37 percent; 2020: 46 percent).

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the way we live - how we work, socialize, and much more. But the younger generations show how agile they are to adapt to challenging and unsafe situations. In view of this, the younger generations will play a decisive role in society in the future after the pandemic. "(Elisabeth Denison, Chief People Officer at Deloitte)

Leading young generations properly

And what influence do experiences such as home office and flexible work have on the future working atmosphere? Here employers have to be prepared for a lot, because those who are less stressed from work in the home office do not want to switch back to the open-plan office so quickly. And so 69 percent of millennials and 64 percent of Generation Z believe that working from home will keep the stress level low in the future and enable a better work-life balance (Y: 67 percent, Z: 63 percent). As a result, 64 percent of Generation Y members would like to be able to spend more working hours at home in the future, compared with 60 percent of Generation Z members.

What young employees in particular want is flexibility in leadership, architecture and technology, writes Springer author Petra Kugler. This applies to both generations. However, the possible side effects of flexibilisation are also taboo: mixing private life and work and, in the worst case, unlimited work (page 168). But how can employers who want to meet the needs of a more mobile and flexible workforce master this balancing act. How do you lead the younger generations properly?

Managers have to be authentic

There must be no discrepancy between what a manager says, what he does and what he really means, warns Springer author Axel Rittersmann (page 155). Managers who (not only) offer home office to young employees so that they can concentrate on their work undisturbed, are not allowed to (page) 156:

  • Schedule team meetings on the days when employees want to work from home
  • Sow skeptical and reproachful looks at the announcement that they will work from home the next day
  • Publicly state that it is impossible to work productively at home because you would be hogged down by your children / spouse
  • Showering employees in the home office with calls and inquiries

Leading the young generation means conveying meaning and freedom to them, challenging them and promoting their contradictions as well as their personal development, the author continues. The promise is: "Young employees will free companies from the lethargy of the past." (Page 164)

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