Research from Citrix shows young professionals, those ‘born digital', can globally drive an extra USD$1.9 trillion in profits if empowered to work flexibly.
Citrix and research partner Milieu Insights have conducted a new study, The Born Digital Effect, to examine the challenges born-digital professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) face in their current or potential employment and how business leaders can enhance corporate processes to maintain an organizational edge over competitors.
The research was conducted in Singapore, with 366 PMEs surveyed, of which 300 are born-digital (18-40 years old), and 188 are business leaders born-digital and older. A separate survey also examined attitudes of more than 1,500 knowledge workers.
Virtual work models are still the default for most businesses, and younger, digitally-born professionals, and employees, especially those from the millennial and generation Z demographics, will continue to power the knowledge economy.
According to the study, these groups are primed to be tomorrow's business leaders and expected to deliver an extra USD$1.9 trillion in corporate profits.
Born-digitals are defined as millennials (born 1981 to 1996), and generation Z (born after 1997) and are the first generation to experience the evolution of the digital world. They are expected to form the majority of the workforce in the next decade.
“These young employees are different from previous generations in that they have only ever known a tech-driven world of work”, says Citrix executive VP and CPO, Donna Kimmel.
“To shore up their future business success, companies must understand their values, career aspirations and working styles, and invest in their development.”
Both born-digital PMEs (79%) and business leaders (78%) from Singapore say they want the option to continue working from home or remotely a few days a week. And 72% of business leaders intend to implement some form of hybrid or flexible work model, even after the pandemic.
In Australia, 54% of respondents aged between 18-24 claimed to experience a better work-life balance after experiencing remote work as their primary work environment. However, this age group was also most likely to experience burnout as a result of remote working when compared to other generations.
Australian Born Digital respondents also find working remotely more efficient, and more than half (51%) would return to work after parental leave if they could work from anywhere.
According to Citrix, these sentiments show a strong belief that hybrid and flexible models will be the new default format for work. Despite the acknowledgement from both groups that these working models present potential social and communication challenges, such as visibility (52%), collaborations (51%) and exclusion (46%).
Many professionals' positive outlook on virtual and hybrid workplaces has been empowered by the successful use of technology, ensuring business continuity and maintaining a healthier work-life balance. More than 70% of respondents felt that leveraging enterprise tools, platforms, and applications have helped them achieve better productivity, be more efficient at collaborating virtually, and remain connected with colleagues during prolonged work-from-home periods.
More than 70% of Singaporean business leaders and young PMEs also believe that such tech-enabled flexible working allows a work-life balance to be better managed.
When compared to global results, there is a clear gap between senior executives' understanding of what engages and motivates younger employees and what matters most to born-digitals.
While most respondents agree on the evolving expectations of flexible work, the research findings reiterate the ongoing challenges organizations need to address to ensure employees are engaged, motivated and their expectations are managed.
“Successfully attracting and retaining the born-digital will require organizations to invest in work models and tools to create a flexible, efficient and engaging work environment,” says Citrix executive VP of business strategy, Tim Minahan.
“That's what this next generation of leaders crave and thrive in, and there is a clear commercial benefit in doing so.”