More than half of the Earth’s population is made up of Millennials and Gen Zs. Which means, collectively, they represent the vast majority of the world’s workforce. Within my career in Automotive Executive Search, I am conversing with and interviewing Millennials approximately 80% of the time; which means keeping up with their wants and needs career-wise is of paramount importance for our clients.

Millennials & Gen Zs – at a glance

Most of you are potentially ‘au fait’ with these titles, yet for ease of reference, here’s a quick recap on what I’m going to be discussing here:

Millennials: Born between 1981-1996, reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.
Gen Z: Born between 1996-2012, coined the most ‘connected and sophisticated’ generation.

The terms ‘Millennial’ and ‘Gen Z’ will be popping up left, right and centre within most of the content you will read anywhere; particularly when it comes to business and consumerism. As we dwell in such a fast-paced environment, it only seems natural that collective terms for complex subjects exist. I’m investigating this on a level that will hopefully explore the characteristics of candidates for the present – and future – workforce in the automotive industry.


The Deloitte Global Millenial Survey 2019 (Deloitte, 2019) has pinpointed some very interesting research into Millennials and Gen Zs who are feeling ‘uneasy’ and ‘uncertain’. Key findings noted that respondents to the survey expressed not only a lack of faith in mass media and leaders’ impact on society; but also, companies’ practices that do not align with their core values. This brings me swiftly back to my point made within Five Things We Learned from This Year’s Diversity & Inclusion Event 2019 when discussing the external brand reflecting a company’s internal image. If there is a ‘visible authenticity’ and an ‘embedded culture’… will this lead to faith being restored within the ‘younger’ generation? Should those looking to attract talent within the automotive trade continue working on their brand image? The conversation continues.


The Deloitte Survey also found that earning a high salary and being wealthy ranked second for both Millennials and Gen Zs. Two thirds who want to reach senior levels in their careers believe it’s attainable. However, 49% of respondents said, if they had the choice, that they would quit their current jobs within the next two years. In 2017 this number was 38%. This begs the question – what can be done to attract a more stable workforce? Or, importantly, encourage employees to remain in the company in order to progress? Interestingly, the reason for wanting to leave that ranked the lowest was “not liking the workplace culture.” I feel this is quite positive (rightly or wrongly). The way I see it is that it suggests the ways in which we work today, as a collective, is in a fairly positive environment. Yet what can leaders and managers do to encourage talented candidates to stay?

Professional Development

Millennials believe businesses have the greatest responsibility for preparing workers – even more so than educational institutions. Yet Gen Zs are under the impression schools, colleges and Universities bear this responsibility. Both generations agreed that self-education and ongoing professional development came next – so are managers under an event greater pressure now to shape and mould young professionals? Or encourage self-development and provide a support for this in terms of flexibility; i.e allowing employees to attend conferences or study to enhance their skills? Looking back upon Five Things We Learned from This Year’s Diversity & Inclusion Event on the subject of flexible working – our panellists explained how their take on this had elicited positive responses. Could this be promoted and integrated within the industry event further? Or is there already ‘too much’ flexibility? As always – I believe everything should be in moderation… so where’s the ‘cut off’ point?

In Summary

Millenials and Gen Zs are the present – and the future. Recruitment within the automotive industry has always been fast-paced and subject to rapid change – yet I’m seeing more and more fluctuations as time goes on. With Ennis & Co, I’m lucky to have a dynamic team spanning a range of generations and each bring with them a different level of knowledge. It’s actually exciting to see what the younger generation want and need when it comes to their career progression and aspirations but I’m conscious some areas within the industry need to adapt to the changes.

The Deloitte Global Millenial Survey 2019 (Deloitte, 2019)