Climate change topped the list of concerns for Millennials (aged 25 to 39) and Generation Z (aged 16 to 22).
Seventy-one per cent of Millennials and Generation Zers see it as the biggest challenge facing their generations. There was an 11 percentage point gap between the climate emergency and the next most prominent concerns, economic inequality (60%) and political instability (60%).
The Millennials and Generation Zers surveyed said they expect companies to take clear positions on social and environmental issues.
Six in 10 (61%) respondents said that it is important or very important that companies take a stance on issues that matter to them.
Bloomberg predicted that people born just before or since the turn of the millennium (Generation Z) would overtake Millennials as the largest demographic group in the world last year. Combined, both generations make up almost two-thirds of the global population and are the majority of the workforce.
To understand what drives this emerging workforce Purpose Pulse surveyed 1,919 Generation Zers and Millennials in the UK and Germany.
A majority (55%) of those surveyed also said that having a clear purpose beyond profit is important to them when considering which brands to buy.
The research showed Millennials and Generation Z, more than any other potential change agent, believe they have the power to have an impact on the issues facing them.
Exactly half (50%) told Purpose Pulse that individuals such as themselves are best placed to drive change on these issues (rather than businesses, governments or civil society leaders).
Six out of 10 Millennial and Generation Z women (59%) said that having a clear social purpose was very important when deciding to work for a company compared to 54% of Millennial and Generation Z men.
Breaking demographics down further, more than two-thirds of black/black British/mixed race Millennials and Generation Zers (69%) said that having a clear social purpose was very important when deciding to work for a company, compared to 58% of white Millennials and Generation Zers.
Lewis Iwu, CEO and co-founder of Purpose Union, said: “The evidence is clear. Millennials and Generation Z have a radically different idea to their predecessors about the types of companies they want to work for, the sorts of brands they want to be associated with, and what it means to make the world a better place.
“This research makes the compelling case that businesses need to adapt to best serve this market, whether it is to attract diverse talent or appeal to a more conscious consumer. The economic and social power of Millennials and Generation Z means that purpose has never been more important to employers and change-makers alike.”
Purpose Pulse interviewed 507 Generation Zers and 1,412 Millennials for its report. The interviews were conducted between 4 December 2019 and 7 January 2020.