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What millennials want from the workplace

A survey of young leaders in corporate real estate, What Millennials Want From the Workplace, presented at the CoreNet Global Summit in Amsterdam, reveals that workplace design and flexible working are top priorities. Even as Generation Z enters the workplace, designers and advisers concerned with the war for talent continue to make efforts to accommodate the outlook and preferences of millennials – the generation born between 1981-1997 which is set to represent 75% of the workplace by 2025.


The research conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of millennials at PWC, Colliers International, CBRE, Deka Immobilien GmbH and HLW International, challenged some of the usual stereotypes about the working preferences of their peer group, but also crucially examined what really attracts and retains this generation.

What Millennials Want From the Workplace focused on two areas – workplace and employer – covering topics such as design, flexible working, workspace, wellness, loyalty, work/life balance and culture.

What Millennials Want From the Workplace delivered key findings:
• The single most important thing to millennials when it comes to the workplace is design, followed by the work itself, location, and then colleagues
• 98% of millennials consider that culture is an important component of their workplace
• 95% of millennials believe that flexible working is important to their workplace experience, with employer trust being a key theme in the debate at the Summit
• 81% of millennials consider that workplace design has a moderate or high impact on day-to-day productivity, with 86% stating that well-designed common areas are very important
• 87% felt wellness was important, while 80% of millennials now demand healthy food options in the workplace but more traditional aspects of the workplace such as socialising are still ranked high at 82%
• 75% felt that they had a good work/life balance, with 72% considering that their employer supported this balance
• Millennials are loyal, with 74% intending to stay with their current employer for three or more years, a finding that goes against the stereotype of this “job-hopping” generation
• Talent retention is also a key factor, with 87% wanting employers to be more transparent about growth prospects

Several panelists during the session commented:
James Ainsworth, Senior Real Estate Manager, PwC, said: “The workplace is key to talent retention and millennials want an Instagram-worthy office, a workplace they can be proud of and an environment they want to spend time in. Millennials are brand loyal. It’s no different with their choice of work. They buy into a company and its values.”

Harriet Wiseman, Associate, HLW International, said: “Millennials have grown up with social media and, as a result, forming real connections is vital to them. It’s something this generation craves, which is why the workplace is so important. Millennials want to feel aligned to a company’s culture and this can be reflected in the design. It’s about authenticity.”

Nathalie Duncan-Sletten, Client Solutions Occupier Project Management, CBRE, said: “Wellness is now a ‘must-have’. A huge shift has occurred over the last ten years.”

James Ainsworth, PWC ended by saying: “If an organisation’s wellness agenda is aligned it will show productivity and is ultimately self-fulfilling. However, the approach to wellness still has a fair way to go.”

The CoreNet Global Summit in EMEA is taking place at Hotel Okura Amsterdam, 10-12 September 2019.