Gen Z and Millennials Cite Sustainability and Social Impact for Lifestyle and Career Decisions

Six in 10 Gen Zs and millennials say they have felt anxious about the environment in the past month, and roughly the same percentage cite extreme weather events and wildfires as a stress driver.

According to the Deloitte Global 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, these concerns impact their decision-making, from family planning and home improvements, to what they eat and wear.

The survey revealed that respondents are taking a range of actions, such as purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) or avoiding driving a car altogether, making their homes more energy-efficient, eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, and avoiding fast fashion in favor of second-hand clothes. While some are deciding to have fewer or no children to reduce their environmental impact.

Climate concerns also play an important role in Gen Zs’ and millennials’ career decisions the report found. More than half of respondents said they research a brand’s environmental impact and policies before accepting a job, while notably, one in six say they have already changed jobs or sectors due to climate concerns and around a quarter of respondents say they plan to do so in the future.

In fact, the ability to drive change on social issues overall has the potential to make or break the recruitment and retention of these generations.

Nearly four in 10 say they have rejected work assignments due to ethical concerns, while more than one-third have turned down employers that do not align with their values.

About half of Gen Zs and millennials say they are pressuring businesses to act on climate change, but less than one in six say they feel able to influence their organization’s sustainability efforts.

The Deloitte survey also found that Gen Zs and millennials want their employers to help empower them and provide training and support, both to help them make more sustainable decisions in their own lives, and to develop the skills needed for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

And although more than half of Gen Zs say they already receive this training, the respondents said it will be essential to scale this learning as its estimated that approximately 800 million jobs are vulnerable to climate extremes.