Half of younger workforce plan to leave their jobs as part of the global ‘great resignation’

Deloitte report shows 55% of millennials believe their greatest problem is the cost of living

About half of the younger workforce plan to leave their current jobs in the next two years in search of a better work-life balance as part of a global “great resignation”, new research claims.

If they all followed through, 56 per cent of generation Z – those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s – would hand in their notice, as would 40 per cent of millennials.

The findings were published on Wednesday by Deloitte Ireland, whose survey also shows that over half of millennials (55 per cent) believe their greatest problem is the cost of living.

Pitched as a post-pandemic “great resignation” theme, Deloitte says the pattern is evident around the world with less stress, better career advancement opportunities and more attractive conditions like hybrid and remote working, driving the decisions of younger workers.


This potential workplace exodus is not lost on employers either – the professional services company found chief executives rank labour and skills shortage as the number one external issue expected to influence or disrupt their business strategy in the next 12 months.

The survey also found a quarter of millennials left their organisations this year due to burnout and more than half (53 per cent) believe the economic situation will worsen in the next 12 months. Generation Z appear a little more sanguine, with just 36 per cent expecting the same development.

Irish workers were among those in 45 countries who took part in the study. According to Deloitte, they are more willing than ever to leave their jobs for fresh opportunities.

Much of it is traced back to the Covid-19 pandemic, a seismic global event that caused many to reassess priorities.

“Organisations can recover and thrive by reflecting, revisiting and reinventing work to better leverage technology, harness the power of workforce, and reimagine the workplace,” said Gary Notley, director for human capital at Deloitte Ireland.

“One in two millennials and one in three of Gen Zs said that better work/life balance is the main consideration when looking at an organisation’s offering in 2022.

“This correlates with the second trend around mental health. Globally and in Ireland, Gen Z employees have been most affected by anxiety, stress and mental health issues over 2021 and 2022.”

Cost-of-living concerns weigh more heavily on the Irish workforce. Here, 55 per cent of those citing it as the main issue compares with a global average of 36 per cent.

Unsurprisingly, climate change also factors in – three-quarters of both cohorts in Ireland agree the world is at a tipping point in its response, and affects the decisions they make.

A paltry 6 per cent of Irish millennials and 12 per cent of generation Zs believe large companies are taking tangible actions to combat climate change, and have even less faith in the Government.

Most generation Z (75 per cent) and millennial (77 per cent) staff prefer hybrid or fully remote work, but less than half currently have the option.

Nearly half of generation Z workers say they feel stressed all or most of the time. Millennial stress levels are also high but down slightly from last year, although a majority of both say their employers are conscious of mental health since the onset of the pandemic.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times