Millennials Want To Work At Organizations That Focus On Purpose, Not Just Profit Want to get young people excited about your company? Then try being a better company.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Millennials have taken on an almost mythic air in the world of today. We project on them both the worst -they're all lazy and apathetic!- and the best -they're all progressive and caring- about our society. But as they become more and more important consumers and members of the work force, it's important to find out how they're actually shaping our society. Here's an idea: why not ask them?

For the past few years, Deloitte has conducted a Millennial Survey to gauge how the generation, which now makes up the majority of the workforce, thinks about business's role in society. The big takeaway: a focus on purpose and people is, for many millennials, just as important as a company's ability to generate profit.

The survey polled over 7,800 millennials with college degrees who also work full-time (defined as having been born after 1982). As in past years, Deloitte found that most respondents said that when they first launched their careers, they looked for companies with a strong sense of purpose beyond a simple profit motive. "They believe the business ethos has too short-term a focus. Beyond that, millennials believe companies should spend less time on short-time roles and more time on broadly building contributions to society, more time focusing on their people," says Deloitte Global Chairman Steve Almond.

Perhaps inspired by the legend of Steve Jobs -a man who ran a huge technology company but wasn't a programmer or designer- millennials surveyed don't care so much about having technically-skilled leaders running their companies. Instead, they look towards leaders who are inspirational, strategic, personable, and visionary. When survey respondents were asked which sector they associate with strong leadership, technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) was by far the top pick. Google and Apple were most often quoted as exemplifying this strong leadership.

"The way I analyzed that- millennials translate that strong leadership question into 'which companies do I associate with technology that changes the way I live?' There's huge amounts of innovation that go on in the auto industry, but it's not seen as much in the way we live," says Almond.

In a survey response that should shock no one who looks at the top ranks of most organizations, women surveyed revealed less confidence that they could -or would want to- progress to being a leader or senior executive within their organization. But at the same time, more women than men surveyed said they would prioritize the needs of their employees, instead of purely looking for financial gain or personal rewards. That focus on employee well-being is exactly what many survey respondents say they want in a company.

"More attention needs to be paid to nurturing talented young women- not just mentoring them, but actively sponsoring them as future leaders," says Almond.

The survey also revealed that most millennials don't think their employers are making full use of their skills- especially in developing countries and Japan, Turkey, Chile, and South Korea. At the same time, they acknowledge that higher education didn't give them the skills that employers value most, like leadership and entrepreneurial abilities. "Graduates should not have to get an MBA in order to be successful in business," says Almond.

Check out the full survey here.

The Venture is a new global social enterprise initiative searching for extraordinary startups and new ideas that use business to create positive change. If you have a GCC-based social enterprise or an idea for a social enterprise, enter The Venture #WinTheRightWay to potentially win your share of US$1 million.

Related Topics

Business Ideas

This Teacher Sells Digital Downloads for $10. Her Side Hustle Now Makes Six Figures a Month: 'It Seems Too Good to Be True, But It's Not.'

When one middle school teacher needed to make some extra income, she started a remote side hustle with no physical products and incredibly low overhead. Now she brings in six figures each month, and offers courses teaching others how to do the same.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2023.

Starting a Business

New Research Reveals 4 Personality Traits That Most Wealthy Entrepreneurs Share

In the book "Rich Habits," author and CPA Tom Corley shares the daily success habits of his most successful clients.

Business News

A New Weight-Loss Drug Could Be a Complete Game Changer. 'Psychologically, You Don't Want to Eat.'

Mounjaro, a diabetes drug used to treat obesity, is forecast to make $50 billion in sales annually.


3 Reasons Why 'The Journey Is the Reward'

While the end goal can provide extreme satisfaction, how someone gets there can also be very rewarding.