As millennials are now the majority of the workforce, more than half are already ascending into leadership roles and transforming the way companies transact business.

That change is not always going to be smooth.

‘Millennials want purpose in their work,’ said Stephanie Turner, manager at Deloitte’s Survey Research and Analytics Center. ‘This not in sacrifice of profits, but they are saying that profits will follow purpose.’

According to ‘The Millennial Majority is Transforming Your Culture’, a new white paper by Deloitte and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative (BJKLI), millennials are forging their own career paths and leaving behind the so-called ‘way we’ve always done it’.

Nearly two-thirds of millennials saying they chose their organization because it seemed purpose-driven, according to the report.

And of those who perceive their organizations as lacking a sense of purpose, only 20% report being satisfied. Meanwhile, there is a declining percentage of millennials who believe ‘businesses should work primarily to generate profit’.

“The research we’re doing with Deloitte highlights important generational differences in the business landscape,’ said King, tennis legend and founder of the BJKLI. ‘Organizations that are able to see-and reevaluate-their cultures through the eyes of this new generation of workers will be able to retain millennial talent, remain competitive, and foster innovation.’

Millennials also demand the latest technology, and are impatient for innovation. Eight in 10 agree that developments in technology will make their working lives ‘more fulfilling’, according to the research.

However, they’re impatient with the pace of innovation with one-quarter citing ‘the attitude of senior management’ as a barrier to innovation.

As for their work/life balance, millennials believe that work needs to fit in life, not life into work.

Millennials identified ‘flexible working conditions and work/life integration’ as the top way organizations would have to change if they wish to improve retention.

Finally, millennials are not as committed to the career ladder as other generations.

Although 41% of millennials in our survey had already accumulated at least four direct reports, only 38% of millennials in developed markets aspire to the most senior position in their organization.

In fact, the survey said that half would like to ‘get to a senior position, but not number one.’


Survey Finds Millennials Aspire To Become Leaders In Order To Empower Others 

91% of Millennials Aspire To Be A Leader and 43% Are Motivated To Be A Leader To Empower Others

Virtuali, a leadership training firm and consultancy, and, a research and advisory membership portal servicing forward-thinking HR professionals, today announced the results of a new survey entitled “The Millennial Leadership Study”.

“Millennials embody the shift in today’s workplace. They are motivated by a desire to transform themselves, their colleagues, and the world around them. This study confirms that Millennials respond and aspire to this type of transformational leadership. If companies want to build engaged and productive workforces, they will need to find a way to tap into the Millennial outlook.”

– Sean Graber, Co-Founder and CEO, Virtuali

Following a national survey of 412 millennials, we found that 91% of millennials aspire to be a leader and out of that, 52% were women. Almost half of millennials define leadership as “empowering others to succeed” and when asked what their biggest motivator was to be a leader, 43% said “empowering others”, while only 5% said money and 1% said power. When asked about the type of leader they aspire to be, 63% chose “transformational”, which means they seek to challenge and inspire their followers with a sense of purpose and excitement.

According the Future Workplace, millennials are known to seek companies that offer flexible work schedules and telecommuting, even if they make less money. In our study, we found that 28% of millennials said that work life balance was their biggest reservation about being a leader.

Additional highlights from the report include:

Millennials already think they have the right skills to become a leader. 58% of millennials said that the most important leadership skill is communication, which 51% said was one of their strongest skills. 55% of millennials said that the most important leadership skill is the ability to build relationships, which 66% said was one of their strongest skills.

Millennials have weak leadership skills they might need to improve. 43% of millennials said that their weakest leadership skill is having industry experience and 41% said technical expertise.

Millennials want to learn online and have mentors. When asked what type of training would be most effective for their development as a leader, 68% said online classes and 53% said mentoring. Only 4% of millennials said University courses.

Millennials prefer to have fewer managers. 83% of millennials said they would prefer to work for a company with fewer layers of management.

Companies need to create stronger leadership development programs. 55% of millennials surveyed said they aren’t satisfied with the leadership development opportunities offered by their company and 39% said their company suffers from poor leadership. Millennials say that the biggest problems with their company’s leaders is their ability to develop others (39%) and communication (50%).


 “This study confirms that millennials choose to empower others over making money or being recognized. Through technology, millennials are equipped with what they view as the two most essential leadership skills, both communication and the ability to build relationships. I’m looking forward to see millennial leaders as they make a positive impact on companies and on the world.”

Dan Schawbel, Founder of and New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself




About is a research and advisory membership portal servicing forward-thinking HR professionals. We have a large database of research covering all aspects of HR, from recruiting to employee benefits to training and development. Through our primary research studies, and collection of secondary surveys, we are following the most important trends and then sharing them with our member companies as they happen.  Our corporate members have access to a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, with real actionable advice. Our goal is to help our members prepare for the future of work, today.

About Virtuali

Virtuali is a leadership training firm and consultancy. Through our series of 1-day workshops, one-of-a-kind Go! program, consulting services, and thought leadership, we help companies develop and implement innovative talent strategies.

About Future Workplace

Future Workplace is an executive development firm dedicated to rethinking and re-imagining the workplace. Future Workplace works with heads of talent management, human resources, corporate learning, and diversity to prepare for the changes impacting recruitment, employee development, and engagement. Future Workplace is host to the 2020 Workplace Network, an Executive Council that includes 50 plus heads of Corporate Learning, Talent, and Human Resources who come together to discuss debate and share “next” practices impacting the workplace and workforce of the future. For more information, please visit: