Young people are increasingly demanding when it comes to choosing an employer or making a purchasing decision, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community.

More than 75% of the 1,000+ respondents said they supported buying from local manufacturers rather than buying imported goods and services; and 67.3% of them said that this was good for the local economy and job creation.


When looking for a job, more than 65% of respondents rated the opportunity to make a difference in society as the top attribute.


Below are three things that companies need to do to engage with millennials as potential employees and customers:

  1. Showcase how their organization connects with communities

In 2013 Coca Cola, one of the partners of the Global Shapers Community, waved goodbye to their corporate website and created their “journey” website to showcase their engagement with a variety of topics.

  1. Forge strategic partnerships with organizations that enable young employees to give back to society

The Abraaj Group launched the Abraaj Growth Markets Grant, a competition open to Global Shapers to address key challenges using the power of positive engagement. Winning projects range from projects that aim to build toilets in India and offering business-skills training to young people in Nigeria to closing the technology gender gap in Morocco.

  1. Design programmes that enable employees to pursue passions outside work

Leading IT company SAP designed a social sabbatical programme that allows employees to contribute their time and talent to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses in emerging markets. The employees are deployed for four weeks to work on local projects, which range from the development of a supply-chain strategy to promote local artisans, to a communications strategy for thousands of local recyclable material collectors.

Author: Vijay Raju is the Deputy Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum.

Image: Students take breaks between meeting with potential employers during the 2012 Big Apple Job and Internship Fair at the Javits Center in New York, April 27, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton