Pinoy millennials, GenZs more optimistic than global peers – study

Published July 5, 2022, 5:46 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Millennials and the next generation Gen Z Filipinos are more optimistic about their country’s economic and sociopolitical future than their global peers, despite feeling more anxious and stressed out largely due to personal finances and mental health concerns compared to their foreign peers, survey results showed.

According to Deloitte’s 2022 GenZ and Millennial Survey, four out of ten Gen Z Filipinos and more than 50 percent of millennials expect the Philippines’ overall economic and sociopolitical situation to improve in the next 12 months, compared to less than 30 percent of their global peers who feel the same about their respective countries.

The Deloitte survey was conducted from November 2021 to January 2022, gathering the views of 23,220 respondents (14,808 Gen Zs and 8,412 millennials) from 46 countries, including the Philippines where there were 400 respondents.

Millennial age range is roughly 26-41 today or those born between 1981 and 1996, while Gen Z

is the newest generation, born between 1997 and 2012. They are currently between 9 and 24 years old.

Despite their optimism, this year slightly more Filipino millennials (48%) and Gen Zs (68%) report feeling anxious or stressed out all or most of the time, a 2 percent and 1 percent increase, respectively, from last year. Globally, 38 percent (-3 from 2021) of millennials and 46 percent (unchanged from 2021) of Gen Zs feel stressed out most of the time.

Asked what issues contribute to their feelings of anxiety or stress, more than 60 percent of Filipino Gen Zs pointed to four: their longer-term financial future, their day-to-day finances, concerns about their mental health, and family/personal relationships. As for their millennial peers, 63 percent said concerns about their mental health contribute to their feelings of anxiety, followed by their longer-term financial future, which is a stressor for 56 percent of Filipino millennials.

The survey further showed that 70 percent of Filipino Gen Zs and 63 percent of millennials admit to feeling burned out due to the demands of their workload, compared to just 45 percent of their peers globally.

Fifty-eight percent of Philippine respondents said many of their colleagues have recently left their company due to work pressure, compared to 43 percent globally.

On the plus side, it looks like business leaders have taken notice of the importance of mental health: 80 percent of Filipino Gen Zs and millennials agree that workplace well-being and mental health have become more of a focus for their employer since the start of the pandemic (compared to about 53 percent of their global peers).

Unfortunately, the survey showed that the effort does not seem to be paying off as more than 70 percent of Filipino Gen Zs and millennials said that their organization’s increased focus on mental health has not resulted in any meaningful impact on them (compared to about 50 percent of their global peers).

“It appears that our youngest work colleagues in particular have a lot weighing on their minds, which is not surprisingconsidering the circumstances surrounding their milestones,” said Eric Landicho, Managing Partner & CEO of Deloitte Philippines, which released the survey results locally.

“This is the generation that graduated from high school or college in the middle of a pandemic, that transitioned to the workforce at a time when the world of work looked nothing like it did before, and that was probably inundated with news of uncertainty and disruption. Unfortunately, it looks like this volatile environment will persist as the world grapples with other challenges, on top of the pandemic. Stress and anxiety levels among our youth will likely not ease in the near future, which means business leaders will have to be more mindful of supporting these generational cohorts in the workplace as we all navigate the volatility.”

This support can come in the form of better mental health resources and more manageable workloads.

The survey also asked Gen Zs and millennials what they would prioritize to improve work/life balance if they were in charge of their organizations. For Filipino respondents from both generations, the top priority is fostering supportive leaders through mental-health related training, followed by creating more job-sharing options.

“The mental health talks,the free yoga or meditation sessionsthat organizations rolled out to help people manage their anxiety levels at the height of the pandemic may have helped workers up to a point, but it appears it’s not enough. Clearly mental health is a complex issue that calls for a deeper understanding and more deliberate action. Looking at longer-term initiatives, organizations may want to consider investing in training programs that help build empathetic leadership skills and that equip managers with capabilities to recognize and help with mental health challenges,” said Landicho. The simple act of showing people how to set boundaries to protect their work/life balance – and respecting those boundaries once set – already manifest empathy.

From a broader perspective, the Deloitte survey also asked Gen Zs and millennials to identify the issues they are most concerned about.Foremost in the minds of Filipino millennials is unemployment, while their global and Philippine Gen Z peers worry most about the cost of living. With the global economy still on recovery mode and inflation rising in several territories, including the Philippines, financial concerns have exceeded health worries even as the pandemic rages on.

This likely explains the share of Filipino youth who have chosen to take on a second job. More than 60 percent of Filipino millennials (61%) and Gen Zs (63%) said they have taken on either a part- or full-time paying job in addition to their primary job, compared to 43 percent of Gen Zs and 32 percent of millennialsglobally.

Interestingly, the most popular side jobs for Filipino youth are: selling products or services online (32% of Gen Zs and 37% of millennials); consulting/running their own business (22% of Gen Zs and 14% of millennials); and child/pet care (16% of Gen Zs and 14% of millennials). Juggling more than one occupation, while probably necessary for millennials and Gen Zs to meet their financial obligations, could also be contributing to their stress, anxiety, and feelings of being burned out.

Noticeably absent from the top five issues Filipino youth are most concerned about is climate change, even though more of them have firsthand experience regarding its effects: More than 80 percent of Filipino millennials (82%) and Gen Zs (84%) said they have been personally affected by at least one severe weather event in the last 12 months, compared to 66 percent of millennials and 68 percent of Gen Zs globally.

Just the same, an overwhelming majority of these young Filipinos –78 percent of millennials and 80 percent of Gen Zs — said they consistently or often try to minimize their impact on the environment (compared to 66% of millennials and 63% of Gen Zs globally).

“Perhaps in terms of the more urgent concerns, climate change is lower on the list of young Filipinos, but we can’t deny that it is a crisis and that we all need to contribute to mitigating its effects,” says Landicho.

For Gen Z and millennial Filipinos, they would like to see their organizations invest more in the following efforts to combat climate change: banning single-use plastic products in the office (28% of Gen Zs and 18% of millennials); providing training for employees on how they can make a positive impact on the environment in everyday activites (20% of Gen Zs and 24% of millennials); and providing employees incentives to make better environmental choices (14% of Gen Zs and 10% of millennials).

“Climate action is one area where business leaders can and should actively engage their employees, because the youth understand the urgency of the situation and because enterprise-wide initiatives is one sure way we can drive change at scale,” said Landicho. “This is especially important for us here in Asia Pacific, where there are several countries at highest risk of multiple climate hazards, including the Philippines. At Deloitte, we believe the fight against climate change will be won or lost in this region, so there is greater responsibility on us to respond collectively and strongly now.”