Meet the millennials

Meet the Millennials

Produced under the umbrella of

KPMG’s “ITs Her Future”



June 2017



The focus of this paper is to stimulate discussion around

It’s been a good year.

exactly how businesses should go about putting this into

Employee satisfaction has been one of the company’s top

practice. We look at understanding how to attract, engage

priorities and initiatives have been kicked off left, right and

and retain millennials. We specifically look at this through a

centre to focus on just that. Change is coming.

technology lens , where the number of new hires from the

millennial talent pool is steeply rising. Rapid growth across

When results of the latest employee satisfaction survey hit

the technology sector means predicted job vacancies are

your inbox, you shake your head in disbelief. Surely there’s a

mounting, as is concern over whether there will be enough

mistake; a typo, a miscount perhaps.

qualified professionals to occupy them.

Employees are still not happy

Technology and the much-publicised gender gap seem to go

hand in hand but will this continue as millennials take over?

Despite every company’s best efforts, bolstering that

Not only is it a missed opportunity for women, but for

employee satisfaction score continues to be an issue. So

companies too, so it is critical to stay mindful of any gender

what’s going wrong? It’s the question on every leader’s lips,

specific differences. And finally, focus on the here and now

the worry on every HR function’s mind.

is valuable, but what about the future? Generation Z are fast

Welcome to a new era of the human capital workforce. For

approaching the workplace so what do companies need to

the first time in history, we’re seeing five generations in the

do to make sure they’re well prepared for this incoming

workplace at the same time, each bringing a unique set of


priorities and expectations. With companies leveraging the

same blanket techniques to attract, engage and retain them,

it’s no wonder that these generations are struggling to co-

exist. Recognising that one size doesn’t fit all is critical, and

the time to act is now.

Companies need to better tailor their efforts towards specific

cohorts, and millennials may just be the best place to

start . They currently comprise 35% of the UK workforce (1) ,

and are set to represent an astounding 50% of the global

workforce by 2020 (2) . They bring wants and needs which

differ greatly to those that came before them, and hold more

bargaining power than ever before in the labour marketplace.

Companies need to be aware of how to move that power in

their favour, alluring them with the right selling points, and

plying them with the right perks to make them stick around

once they’re through the door.

Disclaimer: The statements made in this paper are not necessarily true of all Millennial and

Generation Z individuals, rather they represent trends and characteristics typically observed.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


It sounds simple.

A happier workforce means a

more productive workforce. A

more productive workforce

means more revenue and more

revenue means more reward for

our employees.

Now, which company wouldn’t

to sign up for that?

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.



Are millennials a lazy, entitled group as the media sometimes suggests? Or do they represent a

new era of talent, an army of creative, tech-savvy optimists who are redefining the workplace as

we know it?

For the first time in history, we see five generations of

employees working together under the same roof. But

traditionalists are leaving, and Baby Boomers are looking

towards their retirement ventures, taking years of

experience with them. Generation X are replacing them,

slowly moving up in the hierarchy, but the bulk of the people

on the ground, the do-ers, are millennials.

In the technology sector, where talent and expertise thrive,

harnessing the right people in the right way is crucial. So in

order to successfully leverage this cohort of creative, tech-

savvy optimists, and develop them as future leaders,

employers need to understand their wants and needs. They

need to understand what makes them, as employees, jump

ship, what makes them stay, and how this cohort might just

influence those that follow.

These questions plagued us here at KPMG so, pen and

clipboard to hand, we conducted our own survey. We grilled

over 70 millennials, varied in age and gender, questions

around their employment related challenges, priorities and

expectations. We’ll intermittently disperse this paper with

some of our findings as we go along.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


So who are they?

The term ‘millennial’ has been used increasingly of late. It is the topic of news articles, it is

mentioned on the radio, it is slowly edging its way into dinner table conversations.

But how many people really understand what a millennial is?

Baby Boomers

Gen X


Gen Z





The generation born in

The generation also

The generation reaching

The generation reaching

the post WW2 baby

known as Gen Bust

adulthood in the early

adulthood in the early

boom. Baby Boomers

because their birth rate

21st century. Also know

21st century. They are

enjoyed free student

was vastly lower than the

as Generation Y, they

also hailed as “the first

grants, low house prices

preceding Baby Boomers.

have been shaped by the

tribe of true digital

and they now hold the

Gen X are now becoming

technology revolution that

natives” or

reins of power and have

the “helicopter parents”

saw computers, tablets


the most economic clout.

of Gen Z.

and the web become

central to work and life.

Note: This is a guideline only, different definitions will quote slightly different time spans.

‘Millennials’ are broadly classified as individuals born between around mid-1980s to 2000 and are usually expected to have

reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. They are also commonly termed ‘Generation Y’, following their

predecessors ‘Generation X’.

Fun Facts:



The term millennial was coined by

Neil Howe and William Strauss,

author of the 1991 book

There are around 13.8

Generations: The History of

million people who make

America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 (3)

up Generation Y in the UK (5)


In Sweden they are called Generation Curling,

Generation Serious in Norway, and Generation John

Paul II in Poland. The Chinese call them ken lao zu ,

or ‘the generation that eats the old’, and the

Japanese termed them, nagara–zoku , ‘the people

who are always doing two things at once’ (4)

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


The Millennial DNA

As the name indicates, millennials grew up during the Millennium period, a time of

rapid change. Naturally events that took place during this period have shaped them,

giving them a unique set of priorities and expectations that differ from previous


Here are a few key things to know about them:

Curiosity made the

The job hoppers



On average, millennials stay within a

The World Wide Web was born,

given role for a maximum of three

ushering in the technology revolution.

Millennials need to know the reason

years. With the degree of networking,

As such, millennials are considered

for doing a task before they do it. As

peer-to-peer comparison and online

the ‘Digital Natives’ of the world;

the generation of immediate gains,

job search possibilities that are

history’s first ‘always connected’

they prefer to understand the value of

available today it’s not surprising to


doing something upfront. Why should

understand how quickly millennials

they invest their time in this task and

become hungry for the next

how does it fit into the bigger picture?


© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


All-accepting and all-

Balance is everything

You don’t ask you don’t get


Generation X hoped for work life

Millennials are more confident when

balance, Generation Y simply demand

it comes to challenging the system.

Globalisation has quickened in pace.

it. If it’s possible for one, it’s possible

They are less afraid to ask questions,

The millennial generation has been

for all and with so much happening

make comparisons or question ‘the

exposed to far more cultures, people,

outside of their working lives it’s

norm’ of things. If they’re thinking

travel opportunities, information and

expected as a norm on any job

something, they’re most likely to

goods compared to previous


express it.

generations. Not only has this has

made them the most tolerant of

diversity, but also the most likely to

seek it — especially in the workplace.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Attracting millennials to the workplace

1. They prioritise culture

With millennials comprising an

ever growing, increasingly

Culture is key when millennials are scanning the marketplace for their

next job. How the employer portrays the overall experience of working

powerful proportion of the talent

for them is a key differentiator when they decide which positions to

pool that employers dip into,

apply for.

getting them through the door is

Companies need to focus on cultivating the working conditions that

the critical first step. It’s arguable

foster creativity and morale. Quick wins like introducing a pool table in

that an employee satisfaction

the office, early finish Fridays or allocating time for them to pursue

survey is of limited value when the

personal hobbies during the working day would do the trick.

pool of talent to respond to it is

2. They want to enjoy their working experience


Millennials are the first generation to use the word “fun” to describe

their dream job. They really embody the sentiment that life is too short

to be stuck in a dead end job. As part of our market research, we

asked millennials whether they ever considered a career in technology,

to which a vast number of responses were “no” boiling down to a

perception that it is “boring” or “too manual”. This really hit home that

millennials prioritise enjoyment over all else.

Companies need to focus their efforts on ensuring that from the time

they start their work day to the time they finish, millennials are

enjoying every minute. This might be through holding more frequent

off-site team events or giving them the power to choose to work on

the projects that interest them most.

3. They want open and honest communication

Millennials are brutally honest with each other, and they expect the

same from their employer. They want to feel as though their opinion

matters and that their insights are contributing to a bigger picture that

is allowing the company to develop.

Companies need to adopt a transparent communication policy. For

example, they might want to host a weekly drop-in session with the

leadership team, where even the most junior staff can pose questions

to the C-suite executives. Alternatively, making 360 feedback the norm

means that millennials not only receive honest feedback on a regular

basis but are also empowered to dole it out.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of

independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG

International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


4. They want flexibility

Millennials want to have the option to control their own working hours and location. Whereas previous generations only

hoped for a work-life balance, these headstrong millennials expect it. In fact, in a survey conducted by KPMG [6] across a

broad millennial audience, work-life balance was one of the top rated factors when looking for a job.

Companies need to formally prioritise work-life balance. At KPMG, we drive intelligent working across every area of the

business, and we’re transparent about this with our clients as it aligns to the future of work. The focus is on outcomes rather

than the amount of time put in. Known for their active social schedules, millennials will truly see the appeal in clocking off

once work for the day has been completed, or working from home to sneak in that cheeky yoga class between meetings.

Talent acquisition should sit right at the top of all leader’s priorities lists.

Here’s why:

Increased competition

Being able to ensnare millennials away from your rivals is

highly important in this increasingly competitive

environment. Each millennial lost due to a poor attraction

technique is another one gained in the hand of a rival.

Company image

Being able to attract talent easily does wonders for a

company’s image and reputation. Investing in both the right

recruitment techniques and the perks that millennials want

shows that the company values young talent, listens to their

wants and needs and acts upon this feedback.

Domino effect

Word of mouth travels fast in millennial circles,

especially since they are likely to be progressing

through the job application process at a similar time

and pace. If one individual is to shouting about the

perks of Company X, it’s only a matter of time before

their friends submit their applications too.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Engaging millennials in the workplace

1. Social impact is important

For many millennials, work isn’t simply a way of earning money to

spend on the weekend. This generation is unique in its social

consciousness, and nowadays 63% of millennials expect their

employers to contribute to a social cause. (7) As an example, KPMG

currently spearheads a Women in Technology diversity programme by

the name of ITs Her Future. A substantial proportion of the team is

made up millennial effort, who say that their involvement stemmed

from a desire to “work towards a common goal”, “play my part” and

“contribute to a wider cause that isn’t simply client related”.

Companies need to cultivate a reputation for social responsibility;

Enticing millennials into the

ignoring an army of passionate individuals who want to do their bit is a

workplace is the first achievement,

missed opportunity. Anything they can do to show a consideration for

but there’s no stopping there. Now

the community, such as providing monthly opportunities for

it’s about ensuring that they’re

volunteering, or leadership donating a proportion of their salary to

charity, will go a long way.

motivated enough to keep that

employee satisfaction survey score

2. They want to socialise

soaring. Engaged employees are

Millennials are increasingly social, and want to be able to connect with

satisfied employees, after all.

their co-workers both inside and outside of the office. They enjoy being

part of a tightly knit community which is bound by strong relations,

akin to a “work family”.

Companies need to shun the perception that socialisation at work is a

distraction and start actively encouraging it. One way to do so is by

embracing social media and encouraging employees to use it during

the working day. For example, instating a ‘Facebook-like’ platform for

work purposes not only provides employees with light relief but also

provides them with the means to network and stay connected.

3. They want mentoring

Millennials are known for being headstrong and having firm views on

their direction in life. Nevertheless they need help to harness that

ambition, refine those ideas and focus on further developing those

strengths. When asked whether their employer provides sufficient

support for their advancement, the majority of our survey recipients

shook their heads.

Companies need to consider how they are going to provide mentoring

to 50% of their workforce, and fast. Introducing mentoring

programmes early on for millennials who have just started in their job

gives them hope from the outset that their employer truly prioritises

their development. Companies could look to instate reciprocal

mentoring whereby junior millennials are paired with more senior

colleagues who could be one or two management levels above them.

This way, not only do they get access to a wealth of experience and

advice, but their senior counterparts get immediate insight into the

minds of the most powerful proportion of their workforce.

4. They want celebration for smaller successes as well as big

Millennials are now increasingly hoping for gratitude for small scale

successes, which might usually be overlooked. Whilst big project

milestones are generally celebrated, they also want to feel as though

their day-to-day efforts are being noticed.

Companies need to understand how to engrain more employee

appreciation into their ways of working. This could be anything from

getting senior members of the team to thank the junior members for

being part of a project, to hosting a formal dinner to recognise a team’s

efforts over the past month.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of

independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG

International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


5. They want to talk business

You’ve heard it before, millennials love to see the bigger picture. They want to understand how the value they’re providing

on a daily basis when they come to work is contributing to some greater goal towards which the company is edging.

Companies need to involve millennials more in this bigger picture. Asking their opinion on how to improve the customer

experience, or what products you should be planning next not only makes them feel more included but also gives them

context for their work going forward. It’s as easy as setting up monthly focus groups or sending out a poll on what could be

done better.

6. They need the right manager

Traditional leaders are often “drivers”. They’re the fiery, results-oriented people who get things done but could potentially

derail millennial engagement efforts. Millennials grew up with no clear lines of authority. They grew up being praised and

heard. Reaching the workplace and facing different treatment could therefore be a tough adjustment for the common


Companies need to encourage the adoption of different management styles. This might mean less focus on purely getting

from A to B, and more on collaboration, communication and identifying the best way to reach B. Companies could even

introduce training courses for manager-level staff focusing on attributes valued by millennials such as being transparent,

good listeners, relationship-oriented and so on.

Employee engagement is of the utmost importance. If you need reminding,

here’s why:

Employee Satisfaction : Engaged employees are

invested in the success of their company and have a

relatively higher degree of commitment and loyalty.

Productivity: Engaged employees often become top

performers, as they are committed to “going the

extra mile” to achieve company success

Recruitment & Retention: Engaged employees

significantly lower the risk of employee turnover for

the company, meaning less money invested in

constantly recruiting new and trying to retain new staff

Innovation: Engaged employees bring an added

level of passion and interest to their job, which often

leads to increased innovation as a by-product

Profitability: Engaged employees are naturally more

productive and efficient, in turn positively affecting

the company’s bottom line

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Retaining millennials in the workplace

Average number of companies within first five years after







Known as the job-hopping


generation, tempting millennials

through the door is only one part of


the puzzle. Since statistics suggest


that both younger millennials and






female millennials seem more






compelled to explore other options

Female Male

[8], they need to feel the urge to

stay put the most.

% change of average number of industries

(compared to 1986-1990 cohort)


















First five years post graduation

1. They demand balance

Work-life is balance is one of the most common phrases bandied

around when speaking of workplace allure. But it’s more important

than ever when it comes to millennials so pay attention. For this

generation work-life balance isn’t optional, it is compulsory. In fact, in

our survey, work-life balance ranked the second highest priority when

looking for a job (after salary).

Companies need to engrain flexibility to foster an ‘anytime anywhere’

work environment to replace the traditional 9-5 mentality.

Opportunities such as being able to work from home one day a week,

or being able to take time out from the working day to deal with

personal commitments are huge ticks in the box. Similarly, a policy

forbidding sending and replying work emails on the weekend would go

down a treat.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of

independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG

International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


2. They want to see internal promotions over

external hires

It’s simple – if millennials don’t see the opportunity to move up, they move out. Intuitively this makes sense. Generally

people don’t start their careers with the job they want for the rest of their lives. Instead the beginning of their career is about

gaining skills to eventually earn that dream job.

Companies need to set honest expectations for millennial workers so that they know that if they stay longer, they will be

rewarded with a better title, more money and the opportunity to grow. Where a vacancy comes up, companies should offer

the opportunity to existing millennial staff first instead of opting for an external hire.

3. They yearn to e-learn

Millennials crave knowledge. They’re used to having information at their fingertips, and thrive off processing it. In short, if

they’re not learning, they’re not developing. And if they’re not developing, then they’re going to start looking for a way out.

Companies need to prioritise learning and, more importantly, upgrade how it happens. Millennials don’t want formal lectures

or a bunch of data hitting them in the face all at once. KPMG offers three year learning paths to provide technical, business

and soft skill confidence delivered via a blended, flexible approach. It offers snackable learning options that are easy to get in

and out of, continuous but also relaxed. Leveraging modern technology, that millennials know and love, through e-learning

makes a huge difference – why not deliver training via podcast or Facebook Live video instead?

4. They want security

A report written by Infosys and the Future Foundation [9] last year blares the horn loud and clear. Millennials are anxious

about their jobs. Many don't want to work for a start-up, but instead prefer the stability of a corporate job. The study also

found that 40% of millennials think their job will be outsourced or replaced by automation within the next five years. Again,

in our survey, job security was noted as one of the top priorities for employed and job-seeking millennials.

Companies need to focus on providing millennials with the safety blanket they so need. Proactive communication helps,

giving them the opportunity to constantly air their thoughts and concerns. When change is on the horizon, engage them fully.

Help them understand the change, how it will impact them and get their input on how best to make it happen. Growing up in

a period of rapid change makes them born change agents after all.

Nailing employee retention means happier workers and less money wasted on the

everlasting recruitment cycle. Here’s why:

Improved employee attraction: High employee retention

facilitates a sense of belonging and security which not only

boosts that employee satisfaction score tenfold but also

encourages new recruits like bees to honey.

Happier clients: High employee retention

Improved productivity: Higher

means that instead of having to explain to

employee retention means better

the client why yet again one of their key

productivity. Every time a new

team members is being replaced, they

employee is hired, it takes significant

have continuity with staff who understand

time and effort to then get that

their needs and are able to meet their

individual up to speed.


Cost savings: Higher employee retention,

Improved quality: Higher employee retention

simply put, means fewer costs. The cost of

ensures a stable and reliable knowledge base.

turning over a single staff position can be

Companies forget that when employees leave,

anywhere between 25-75% of that person’s

they make sure to take that accumulated

annual salary cost. (8)

knowledge with them.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Gender differences

The gender gap.The glass ceiling. They’ve weathered the test of time no matter how hard

we’ve tried to shake them. But will the millennial uprising mean that we finally see the back

of them?

Millennials are likely to be the most tolerant and diverse

generation to have graced this planet, with exposure to more

cultures, people and opportunities than ever before. You

wouldn’t be blamed for presuming that these millennials are

too cool for archaic gender norms.

Millennials are socially progressive and refuse to conform to

traditional definitions of masculinity and femininity; more

than two thirds of millennials believe gender no longer

defines a person as it once did. (10) They’re more likely to

openly embrace their LGBTQ identity. They’re more likely to

identify as politically independent and religiously unaffiliated.

They’re more likely to support same sex marriage. The list

goes on.

You can bet it’s been a waiting game, due to millennials

delayed entry into the workforce and ambivalence regarding

marriage and children, to see whether these ideals translate

into something more tangible in the workplace.

But the results are finally in, and despite theory suggesting

otherwise, there are indeed gender differences between

female and male millennials. Their millennial DNA make up is

different; they want different things, face different

challenges and companies shouldn’t be turning a deaf ear.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


So what makes female millennials unique?

They’re more hesitant when it comes to job applications

Female millennials fear more than their male counterparts that they won’t find a job that will

suitably match their personality and skills set. They also worry that employers might just

discriminate against them on the basis of their gender. As such they’re less likely to apply for a

particular position despite being as qualified as male applicants, if not more so. (11)

They’re less confident and optimistic

Male millennials still maintain a higher sense of optimism than females. They

believe they are fully able to achieve a higher standard of living than their

parents, and are more likely to deem themselves entrepreneurial. (12)

They’re more sociable

Female millennials are more likely to crave a familial culture, filled with team working,

inclusiveness and a close knit community. On the contrary, male millennials seem to

favour more of a lone ranger lifestyle. They are more likely to prefer to eat alone,

travel alone and work alone, (13) stemming from a desire to be independent.

They’re less keen on technology

Generally, female millennials are still less likely than their male peers to opt for a STEM career that

may introduce them to a career in technology. This is largely due to a continuing perception bias of

women being more suited to the arts and humanities and to a lack of encouragement at education

level. In the study that we conducted, only 51% of female millennials studied a STEM-related degree

at university, compared to a whopping 86% of males.

They’re more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome

It’s a feeling that high achiever experience when they believe their success is

undue, or down to luck as opposed to talent, and female millennials are more

likely to fall victim. Technology has played a part in this, with the transparency of

social media leading to a pit of social pressure and constant comparisons.

hey want different things from their employers T

Male and female millennials still seem to have different priorities when it comes to employment. In

a survey we conducted across a broad millennial audience, 77% of respondents stated that female

and male millennials have different expectations and concerns when it comes to the workplace.

Statistics showed that males cared far more for remuneration than did their female peers. Whereas

female millennials had a more balanced view, caring the most for promotion opportunities and

work-life balance.

They’re less likely to actively pursue a promotion opportunity

Female millennials are less likely to put their name forward for that internal vacancy than their male

colleagues. This is in part influenced by their need to factor in considerations such as maternity leave

and childcare, which still continues to be more of an issue for females, and becomes more difficult as

they move up the career ladder. In fact, of our survey respondents who believed that female

millennials faced more challenges in the workplace today, 70% quoted this as being the reason.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


So how to translate this into concrete advice? Here are

Male millennials

a few tips to help ensure companies aren’t alienating

female millennials as they attract, engage and retain:

Place more females in leadership positions

Female millennials sometimes don’t feel prepared or confident enough


to apply for positions of responsibility. This is in large part due to a

perception that this aspired state is filled with their male counterparts.

It is difficult to relate when there are few female role models to aspire


to emulate. Companies need to do two things. Enhance current

leadership diversity and develop millennial talent in preparation for


future leadership roles. The former could be done by making it policy

that there are equal male and female applicants for a leadership

position. The latter could be done through investment in training for

top talent. This ultimately shows that the company believes in their

talent and young leader potential.



Ensure provision of well-rounded benefit packages

Generally millennials are attracted to employers who can offer more

than simply good pay, but this is the case even more so with females.

Companies should ensure that they offer a package deal where pay is

only one element and doesn’t have a dominant weighting. More so


than ever, emphasis on rapid career progression, learning and

Job Security

development should be taking centre stage.


Provide more support during career breaks


Work-life balance

This seems to be one key period where female millennials seem to fall

behind their male counterparts, given their need to generally take more

time off for childbirth and child care. Companies need to define

Female millennials

unobstructed pathways for progression for female millennials who are

approaching these circumstances, and make sure these are

communicated loud and clear. They should also make sure they

publicise a willingness to promote regardless of a candidate’s

childbearing status and provide solid maternity packages to ensure that

they do return.


Provide female specific mentoring


It’s clear female millennials face quite different challenges in the

workplace. As such the advice and support they receive from their

employer should be tailored and delivered in a certain way. Initiating

female specific mentoring could do the trick. Not only does this

immediately expose them to a female role model to whom they can



aspire, but also provides them with a safe haven to converse any

gender-specific issues. It is, however, a vicious cycle due to the lack of

women in senior positions already, but involvement of male mentors

would also demonstrate that endorsement of diversity and support for


millennials comes from both sexes

Note: 21 male respondents, 51 female respondents.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of

independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG

International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Set up female focused initiatives

Establishing initiatives primarily focused on and driven by women checks multiple tick boxes. First and foremost they

establish a community of like-minded female professionals, who can support each other and work together towards a

common goal. Secondly, if company leadership is sponsoring the programme, it shows that they are listening. They care . about the ultimate goal and are willing to support, something that should inspire and motivate.

KPMG’s Its Her Future programme does just this. Its vision is to empower young women to be architects of change across

the technology industry, through a number of different initiatives. It aims to give the 40-strong team a sense of purpose and

motivate them with the comfort of knowing that KPMG’s MC leadership team are right behind them. Furthermore, the

programme looks to target remediate key issues faced by women in technology through projects such as mentoring, skills

workshops and technical confidence development.

Use gendered wording in job descriptions

Beware of the power of words. To encourage the female millennial to feel confident enough to apply for that first interview,

employers should pay close attention to the language used and what it signals. Female millennials generally respond better

to nurturing, positive language as opposed to competitive connotations that entice males. (14)

When skimming through a job description or a marketing campaign, their eyes are drawn to phrases which promote

collaboration and team working, as opposed to suggesting an environment of competition and being pitted against each

other. Female millennials can absolutely embody “dominant”, “strong” and “competitive” characteristics, but it’s worth

noting that this wording is often a cue for an atmosphere which is unwelcoming and potentially toxic.

The verdict?

Unfortunately gender typecasts are sticking around for a little longer, at

least in the technology sector anyway. But by proactively taking action

now, companies can help in the effort to banishing these stereotypes to

the archaic ages – where they belong.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Generation Z

Perfecting the art of catering to the millennial takes time. But this shouldn’t distract from the fact

that their successors are just around the corner, quickly approaching employable age. Companies

need to get ahead of the game and start understanding how these individuals might just disrupt

the playing field.

Generation Z. The Post Millennials. iGeneration. Founders. Plurals. The list is endless.

Born between the mid 1990s and 2010, the millennials’ younger generation have already made a name, or rather multiple

names, for themselves. They’re already emerging as the next big thing for market researchers, cultural observers and trend

forecasters alike.

Employers – start taking notes.

So what do we know about this elusive group?

The first thing to pen down is that Gen Z shouldn’t be painted with the same Millennial brush. They’re being raised

differently, changing their views, outlook and perspectives. They have also had a different experience with technology. Sure,

millennials were digital but Gen Z is the first to be born into an era of smartphones. Most won’t even remember a life before

social media.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


Admittedly, as they are still children, many of their adult characteristics are yet to be vetted.

Nevertheless, early indicators point towards the following differences from their millennial siblings:

They’re less focused

Gen Z are living in a world of continuous updates. They process information faster than other

generations thanks to apps like Snapchat and Vine. Thus you won’t blame them if their

attention spans are significantly lower.

They’re better multi-taskers

The typical Gen Z can create a document on their school computer, do

research on their phone, while taking notes on a tablet, then finish it off in

front of the TV with a laptop. All whilst face-timing a friend. You get the

picture. Gen Z can shift very quickly between work and play.

They’re early starters

Researchers are predicting that Gen Z will go straight into the workforce, opting out

of the traditional route of higher education. They know the true value of

independence, and knowledge is no exception. If a Gen Z’er knows they are capable

of learning something themselves, through a more efficient, non-traditional route, you

bet they’ll grab that opportunity with both hands.

They’re more cautious

Growing up amid tumultuous times of a global recession, war and terrorism has made Generation Z

more realistic that opportunities are not boundless, as many millennials believe. They’re expected to

take less risks and seek more stability than the freedom and flexibility that millennials seek. They’re

expected to recognise the need to continue to master new skills to stay relevant and competitive.

This could mean that learning and development plays an even bigger role in the future workplace.

They’re more entrepreneurial

Being born into a highly networked and tech-fuelled world has resulted in the

entire generation thinking and acting with an entrepreneurial hat on. Recent

studies show that 72% of teens want to start a business of their own in the

future. (15) They’re constant creators, coming up with reams of ideas every day,

taking inspiration from things they see and hear.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


But what does this mean for companies of today?

That employee satisfaction survey that you’ve been screaming about

over the past few years won’t suddenly disappear overnight when this

new cohort comes along. That satisfaction score that you’ve focused

every effort into amplifying wont pale in significance, nor will the

concept of employee satisfaction become a thing of the past.

The bottom line? Companies need to be forward looking. With the

oldest members of these cohort only just leaving school, these teens

of today are primed to become the dominant youth influencers of

tomorrow. You need them on side and motivated.

The biggest mistake is to fall into a false sense of security and believe

that they’re just kids, there’s nothing to be done now. This generation

of youngsters are in school, but don’t be fooled; this doesn’t buy you

any time. In the time it takes you to read this paper, this group of

individuals are most likely making those key decisions which will

influence their professional life ten years down the line. To take

Biology or Maths at GCSE? To accept that accounting work placement

or not? The decision points are bountiful and companies need to firmly

plant themselves at the heart of them.

For example, the proportion of youngsters who consider a career in IT

is waning, drastically more so with females (16) . Think about that age-old

question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Fireman,

doctor, actress are all common answers, but how many children aspire

to be a hacker or a programmer?

Even more worrying is that this interest wanes with age, again more

so with females. Whereas 27% of girls in middle school (10–13 years-

old) have considered an IT career, this drops to 18% among high

schoolers (14–17 years-old). Furthermore, 69% of females who

haven’t considered an IT career attribute it to not knowing enough

about what IT jobs involve, suggesting that lack of interest alone isn’t

the culprit. (17)

10–13 year-old girls who

14–17 year-old girls who

considered an IT career

considered an IT career



% of females who don’t consider IT career

as they don’t know what it involves


© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of

independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG

International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.


So what can companies do now?

Learning begins at home and at school. Generation Z’s key

Generation Z also harbour a misconception around the

role models are their parents and teachers. Companies need

nature of IT jobs. When asked what a career in IT would be

like, youngsters home in on the stereotype that it means to

to embed themselves in these places to propel education in

the right direction.

be isolated, sedentary and operating alone in front of a

screen for 40 hours a week. Again developing strong

Generation Z have a limited perspective of IT careers; we

partnerships with local partnerships could facilitate change in

need to start reversing this. Technology can be cool and

this space. Simple initiatives such as inviting school children

companies have a responsibility to spread the word. Being a

to the office for a day would go a long way in dispelling

visual journalist, a music data scientist, a wildlife technology

these claims. Needless to say these visits should be as

engineer all sits under the umbrella of technology – teachers

entertaining as possible – perhaps running a robotics show

need to start championing these opportunities in the

and tell, or a simulation of how a hacker might break into a

classroom. Developing an alliance with a particularly primary


school would help companies to start educating teachers.

One strand of KPMG’s Women in Technology programme,

Another factor that doesn’t do Technology’s reputation any

IT’s Her Future, focuses on exactly this. Through the IHF

favours is the vanilla-flavoured IT curriculum served to

Young Girls Campaign (18) , KPMG is working to provide

Generation Z. As kids these days begin their IT class, on the

students with the right information about technology to

agenda is learning how to type, to save a word document, to

enable them to make informed career decisions. The

create a pie chart in excel. Companies need to put

campaign also looks to place more of KPMG’s technology-

themselves forward to spice things up. Taking over a single

driven women in front of these young students, particularly

IT class for the day and showing children how to create a

to encourage young females to get involved and show them

gaming application would no doubt be far more enthralling.

that it can indeed be done.

Our roadmap plans the campaign’s execution through three main channels to

achieve and maintain competitive advantage:

Secondary school engagement:

Primary school engagement:

through work experience,

through school visits to KPMG and

innovation days and mentoring

Teacher engagement: through

vice versa


provision of teacher toolkits and

hosting interactive teacher

conferences at KPMG offices

This three pronged approach tackles the problem at its root causes, and is feasibly imitable by any company savvy

enough to make the investment. The ultimate aim is to start attracting young Gen Z candidates for apprenticeships and

graduate programmes now, but the beneficial by-products are numerous. It acts as a lever to build up their technology

knowledge so that they’re better prepared once they reach the real world. This means less time spent on training and

upskilling and more time delivering. Remember how we drilled home the importance of employee engagement? Well this

also gives their millennial siblings the opportunity to engage with something other than daily project work, and view

themselves as role models contributing to the community.

The moral of the story is that you need to act now. Miss the boat and you’re

opting to side step another pool brimming with talent and potential.Your loss.

© 2017 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG

International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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