Wednesday, 06 July 2016 12:36

Work to live, not live to work? Global research looks at millennials in the workplace


A new global study by Sage looks at how "the motivations and personas of young entrepreneurs" and uncovers five workplace personality types among other fascinating findings.

Sage. The company says it is "the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs", having started in the UK 30 years ago. It now has 13,000 staff supporting millions of entrepreneurs across 23 countries.

So, it’s clear that Sage sagely knows a thing or two about businesses, workplaces and entrepreneurship.

The company has conducted global research and has published its new "Walk With Me" report, which has uncovered that "young entrepreneurs are driven by a desire for independence, a belief in social good and a commitment to employee happiness", and which examines "the key characteristics, attitudes and behaviours of millennial entrepreneurs around the world".

Sage says that "insights into how young entrepreneurs use technology at work is often crucial for technology companies to develop their future gadgets".

Indeed, it points to young adults as "a generation who is active, innovative and won’t shy away from saying what is great and what is not".

Sage’s study of 7400 millennial entrepreneurs globally reveals important trends into the characteristics and behaviour of this new generation towards technology, and "despite sweeping generalisations about how this generation behaves", the study not only uncovers some "surprising findings", but shows that these business leaders "have diverse traits which align them with five workplace personality types":

  1. The principled planners – extremely methodical in their approach to work, they enjoy carefully planning for success. With an ambitious streak, they never take anything at face value and always ask a lot of questions.
  2. The driven techies – love their work and can’t bear the thought of sitting around twiddling their thumbs; they trust in the power and efficiency of innovative technology to keep them one step ahead of the competition. They have a strong belief in its ability to accurately target their existing and future customers.
  3. The instinctive explorers – cavalier, they love the unknown, as well as exploring uncharted territory. They trust their gut instincts and stick to their guns. A modern image is extremely important to them, as is leaving a legacy by which to be remembered.
  4. The real worlders  resourceful, but likely to say they rely on technology in order to succeed. When it comes to their approach to work and making decisions, they tend to alternate between going on gut instinct and taking a more methodical approach.
  5. The thrill-seekers  easily bored and always on the lookout for the next challenge, they couldn’t care less about appearances. They work best around others and believe that making a social impact is overrated.

Here are some of the interesting findings:

  • The study gives insight into how to hire, engage and do business with these ambitious young people.
  • In some countries, more than half say they could have run their businesses with technologies from 20 years ago.
  • Nearly 60% say they are resourceful enough not to have to rely on technology to succeed (the figure is 66% for Australians).
  • At the same time however, in the next 10 years, mora than 40% believe the desk technologies will be defunct and we’ll have more virtual staff - (the figure is 48% for Australians).
  • A total of 61% will sacrifice profit to stay true to their values – rising to 78% in South Africa, 71% in the US and 72% in Singapore.
  • More general trends from the study include a desire to make a difference.
  • Doing social good is especially important to young entrepreneurs in South Africa (80%) and Brazil (81%) compared to other countries.
  • Respondents in Switzerland (24%), Australia (20%) and France (19%) say employee happiness is what gets them out of bed in the morning, while 34% say they started their own business in order to be masters of their own destiny, rather than make money (21%).
  • When it comes to the work-life balance, 66% value work over life.
  • For respondents in Brazil (71%), Australia (70%), Belgium (70%), Singapore (73%) and Switzerland (70%), reducing the amount of hours they spend working and retiring early is a key focus.
  • A total of 62% believe they’ll be serial entrepreneurs, starting more than one than business – with 52% saying this is because they have lots of ideas they want to share with the world.

To explain the top line findings in a more engaging way, Sage has also developed a cute and informative little Chatbot with which you can interact here.

Kriti Sharma, director, product management, mobile, Sage, explained: “As a millennial entrepreneur myself, I know first-hand that this business group are shaking things up.

“We’re rejecting established patterns of working and making technology work for us. We see business through a new lens. We’re willing to work hard, but want flexibility in how, when and with whom we do business.”

Stephen Kelly, Sage chief executive, said: “Millennial entrepreneurs have a huge role to play in the start-up economy and are shaping the modern workplace at great pace.

“But they can’t be grouped together as a homogenous stereotype. Our research shows that they fall into distinct camps with specific hopes, fears, concerns and ways of working. They will be our next generation of business builders, the heroes of the economy, and understanding what makes them tick now stands us all in good stead for the future.

“That’s true of the people who want to do business with them, buy from them, hire them or create policy that helps them to grow.’

You can see the full, free and detailed 20-page report, including more stats and a full analysis of the five personas, here. (PDF link) 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.





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