Pinoy millennials more stressed, anxious than global peers – study

Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, more Filipino millennials were already feeling anxious and stressed compared to their global peers, but they are choosing to focus on the positive aspects of the current health crisis and are already taking action to improve the world and their own lives, according to a new survey released locally by Deloitte Philippines.

Now on its 9th year, the 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey is an annual look into the views of millennial and Gen Z respondents on a variety of topics, such as the role of business in society, and the issue of mental health and stress. For this year’s survey, fieldwork was conducted from November 2019 to January 2020, gathering responses from 13,715 millennials across 43 countries and 4,711 Generation Z respondents from 20 countries. In the Philippines, 300 millennials were interviewed for the survey.

The survey revealed that 57 percent of Filipino millennials feel anxious or stressed all or most of the time, compared to 44 percent of their peers globally. Top stressors being their current financial situation and concern for the welfare of their family.

For this fraction of Filipino millennials, the study said that 65 percent reported that concerns about the welfare of their family contribute a lot to their feelings of stress, followed by their physical health (54%), their long-term financial future (53%), their day-to-day finances (51%), and their job/career prospects (47%).

Further, 41 percent of Filipino millennials admitted that they missed paying or have been unable to pay a bill/fixed payment in the last six months, compared to just 29 percent of millennials globally.

The strain is affecting their professional lives, according to the study where sixty-six percent of Filipino millennials said they have taken time off work in the past 12 months due to anxiety or stress, compared to just 29 percent of their peers around the world.

But less than half (46%) of these Filipino millennials told their employers the real reason they filed for leave, even though three-fourths of all Filipino millennials who were polled agreed that stress is a legitimate reason to take time off work.

“This disconnect suggests that millennials still feel like there’s a stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace, that they still can’t be open about their anxieties in the work setting,” explained Eric Landicho, Managing Partner & CEO of Deloitte Philippines. “If left unaddressed, this could be yet another stressor on workers. Business leaders have to set the tone at the top and make sure their workplaces are safe spaces for discussing mental health issues, especially now that everyone’s lives have been disrupted by the pandemic.”

While legwork for the 2020 Millennial Survey was completed before the outbreak of the coronavirus, in April and May Deloitte conducted a pulse survey of 9,100 millennials in 13 countries to understand how the pandemic has affected young people.

Interestingly, the fraction of millennials who reported feeling stressed most or all of the time contracted from 50 percent pre-pandemic to 42 percent during the health crisis (for the 13 countries included in both the primary survey and the pulse survey). The general slowdown of life, the opportunity to spend more time with family, and the elimination of commutes for many may have contributed to the slight drop in stress levels.

The Philippines was not included in the pulse survey, but Deloitte Philippines conducted an informal poll of its own millennial workers in June and found a similar trend, with young workers focusing on the positive aspects of their new normal. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said having the option to work from home, one that has been available to all Deloitte Philippines employees even before the pandemic, has helped relieve stress, while 71 percent said remote working has enabled them to achieve a better work/life balance. Sixty-two percent said that since working from home during the pandemic, they have felt more able to bring their true selves to work, suggesting an enhanced feeling of comfort and safety.

As with their global peers, the pandemic has inspired Deloitte Philippines’ millennials to look at how they can effect positive change in society. A large majority of 91 percent said they have already taken immediate action to have a positive impact on their communities, compared to 71 percent globally, while 96 percent said they will take further action to have a positive impact on their communities once restrictions are lifted, compared to 74 percent globally.

One area where Deloitte Philippines’ millennials are looking to have a positive impact is in their support of local businesses. Nearly all respondents – 99 percent – said they will make an extra effort to buy from smaller, local businesses to help these enterprises stay operational, while 79 percent said they plan to buy more from large businesses that have taken care of their workforce and have had a positive impact on society during this pandemic.

“As in our previous surveys, we can see that personal values continue to drive millennials’ attitudes when it comes to supporting brands and exercising their purchasing power,” said Landicho. “This is a clear signal to business leaders that in order to gain traction with this increasingly influential generation, they are going to have to show a sincere commitment to making the world a better place for everyone, to having a purpose beyond merely profit.”

In the Philippines, it appears the private sector is succeeding on that front. Even as millennials’ view of businesses continues to decline globally (51 percent say businesses have a positive impact on society, compared to 55 percent last year), 82 percent of Filipino millennials believe businesses have positively affected wider society, up from 76 percent last year.

Further, Deloitte Philippines’ informal poll showed that 74 percent of millennials have an improved opinion of businesses because of the actions their leaders have taken during the pandemic, and 79 percent say these actions have shown a genuine commitment to society.

“These results reflect the undeniable mobilization of the private sector during this health crisis, which is all the more crucial in an emerging economy such as the Philippines,” said Landicho. “As the country begins to plan for a post-pandemic normal, the private sector will continue to play an important role in getting us back on track. Let us hope that business leaders carry this goodwill forward and not lose sight of their workers and their communities even as they shift their focus to recovery.”

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a second pulse survey was conducted between 28 April 2020 and 17 May 2020, where 5,501 millennials and 3,601 Gen Zs in 13 large markets were questioned.  The 13 markets that were affected by the pandemic at varying degrees are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the UK, and the USA.