Think You Know Millennials? Think Again


The results are in, and despite what many think, it turns out millennials in the Asia Pacific region are not so easy to figure out.

Current-day millennials are often lumped into the same typical generalisations: They prefer informal employment, seek to change jobs regularly and avoid financial responsibility.

However, these perceptions are now shattered with the release of CBRE's Asia Pacific Millennials: Shaping the Future of Real Estate report. The report includes findings which were based on survey responses from 5,000 millennials in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India and Japan, to find out how they approach lifestyle priorities through defined live, work and play ambitions.

The report revealed that millennials share similar long-term lifestyle priorities with other generations.

Consistent with previous generations, most millennials save money to buy a home and spend prudently. The report also illustrates that this demographic aspires to carve out a stable career but take into account factors such as office design when selecting an employer—with 71% of respondents willing to give up other benefits for a better office environment.

“The millennial demographic in Asia Pacific is a game-changer for businesses across the board.

Millennial - Gen Y

"Their live, work and play priorities and habits will shape economics, redefine opinions on workplace design and functionality, and drive new attitudes towards consumption and experience for the foreseeable future,” CBRE Asia Pacific CEO Steve Swerdlow said.

The report also highlights some key differences between millennials in Australia and Asia.

CBRE Head of Research Australia Stephen McNabb said a relatively low proportion of Australian millennials (35%) live with their parents in the family home, compared to 70% in Asian countries. Australian millennials are also more likely to be married or live with a partner (54%), compared to 37% in Asia.

Another key difference relates to receiving financial support from a parent or guardian when buying a home – with just 27% of Australian millennials receiving this type of support compared to 63% in Asia.
LIVE: Lifestyle and Home
Almost two-thirds of the region’s millennials are still living with family due to both cultural practices and financial factors. In most major markets surveyed, the high cost of residential property across the region are providing challenges for Asia Pacific millennials to accumulate the necessary capital to buy their own home.

The survey found that Asia Pacific millennials do aspire to own their own home, with 65% of respondents planning to buy property in the future. However, 63% of respondents said that they are forced into renting as they are unable to buy, and until they have the financial means to live independently, millennials will continue renting.

CBRE Head of Asia Pacific Research Dr Henry Chin said developers and city administrators should take heed of these trends by constructing more affordable housing for rent and sale.

“In response to the challenges for millennials to accumulate capital for down payments, there needs to be innovation in structuring mortgages for young first-time homebuyers."The findings shows that 76% of Australian millennials want to buy a property but 66% believe they won’t ever be able to afford it and 74% believe wages are not keeping up with property prices.
WORK: Talent and Workplace
Millennials comprise 25% of the total workforce population in Asia Pacific. The figure is even higher in Australia at 35% and is set to reach 40% by 2030.

While salary and benefits are still the main draw when considering a job, millennials also factor in lifestyle elements such as office design, flexible working, location and commuting time. The survey findings underline the importance of a high quality office environment.

More than 70% of respondents said they believe that employers should put more thought into their working environment.

Millennials work

Millennials view their office and its immediate surroundings as a community where they can relax, socialise and engage in other activities.

While a preference for new amenities is common across all generations it is the strongest for millennials, with wellness/relaxation facilities and green space being the biggest influence on Australian millennials when looking for a job.

Due to the advent of technology, millennials are also increasingly demanding the freedom to work anywhere, anytime—more than 60% of Asia Pacific millennials desire flexibility and mobility at work.

Job loyalty by millennials is also stronger than perceived; two-thirds of Asia Pacific millennials (or 61% of Australian millennials) expect to work for the same company, or for a small number of companies, throughout their career. Findings reveal that inspiration, responsibility and career progression are prerequisites to attract and retain the talent of millennials.

People-centric workplace strategies that embrace diversity, choice and community—major draw cards for Asia Pacific millennials in career choice —can keep talent happier, more engaged and more productive.

Just 6% of Australian millennials want to work for a large number of companies with frequent changes.
PLAY: Socialising and Shopping
Asia Pacific millennials are more likely to spend their time and money on leisure activities and experiences like travel, entertainment and dining than previous generations.

Millennials shop online—at an average of 4.7 days per month —but only physical bricks-and mortar venues, particularly shopping centres, provide them with the experiences and social elements they require. Millennials visit shopping centres for purposes other than buying products, such as to dine out, banking and visiting exhibitions, at an average of three days per month.

However, the research suggests slower economic growth and a desire to save money for purchasing a home may inhibit future spending on leisure activities.

“In order to leverage on millennials’ spending habits, retailers are recommended to increase the experience-based element of their offering and focus on providing an environment for visitors to socialise and relax," Dr Chin said.

"In addition to increasing F&B, cinema and entertainment elements in their shopping malls, retail landlords should consider organising more live events to attract millennials. However, they should also carefully manage their tenant mix to ensure they still cater to other generations."

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