by Jeremy Zogby and John Zogby

View Full Report Here

Zogby has been researching age cohorts (especially Millennials) for two decades. For this pathbreaking report, we offer a glance at the kind of leadership Millennials can and likely will provide. We also closely look at Gen Z, by way of comparison with Millennials and older age cohorts.

Our latest data in the following report uses four lenses to help us understand the next wave of leadership in our future companies, governance, non – profits and other key organizations.

In fact, these four very telling issues reveal the heart and soul of the cultural/political landscape in 2019 and beyond.

When Millennials and Gen Z are put side by side with Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Cold War generation, perhaps we see the emergence of a new set of values. While many from Gen Z are still up in the air (as evidenced by the high percentages of “not sure” on the four topics of this presentation), Millennials are more grounded in their beliefs.

We have given each of the opposing views their best shot and we believe we have captured the essence of four very significant public debates.

What follows is a useful snapshot utilizing data that is intended to offer us a glimpse at what the future of leadership may look like.

Here are the key findings:

• Millennials are highly networked, steeped in technology, diverse; more than any cohort before them and generally believe diversity -not merit – is paramount to creating the ideal workplace.
• They are also more likely to believe global warming is man-made – as opposed to the result of the natural order of things – and it is a crisis that requires action now.
• Millennials have less trust for hierarchical structure and more trust in the wisdom of the crowd – hence why many institutions are less relevant in their lives (e.g. churches and political parties – to name a couple).
• Gen Z is still young, small in numbers, but perhaps we’re starting to see a significant pattern – if Millennials are a window; then Gen Z is even more diverse and prefers the workplace to be so as well.
• They too strongly view climate change is man-made and action is required now.
• Many from Gen Z are on the fence about the other topics in this report, as evidenced by the high percentages of those who are “not sure”. Therefore, it remains to be seen where Gen Z will ultimately stand. Stay tuned as we will continue to track this up and coming generation.

In the final analysis:

• What Boomers have begun (by challenging authority) and Gen X’ers have fostered (trust yourself over institutions), Millennials have driven home in a big way. This survey underscores what surveys by Zogby and others have shown about Millennials. They place a premium on diversity over merit, believe it is the role of businesses to primarily protect the environment as opposed to the top priority being job creation and prefers new systems of problem-solving (i.e. the wisdom of the crowd) over top-down hierarchy.

• The key takeaway here is – look for our future leaders to be less focused on hierarchy as Millennials bring their network-based approach to problem-solving into communities, the workplace, and ultimately government. In other words, expect to varying degrees the call for a transformation of power away from centralized institutions as we see this already playing out in the world of blockchain technology.


  1. A succinct but magisterial synopsis of the emergent mindset that will shape our future – Bravo! Bang on the money – as usual for the peerless John Zogby.

  2. Hi. I hope you are well today. I saw this survey/study on Fox News Live this morning and something told me to look into it. Mainly their use of the information to look down on Millennials. The speaker mocked the age group saying, “it’s easy for them to say that merit doesn’t matter in the market place until they get ready to be a consumer and what they’re gonna be looking for when they’re spending their money.” As a 39 year old who is usually classified as Gen X but this has me as Gen Y I can assure you we are well aware of what it is to be a consumer! I am close friends with many 20-somethings who can also attest to their full knowledge of consumerism. So , that complaint may be directed at the speaker but I did not necessarily pick up on that bias from this analysis. But going through the survey I have a few questions and observations. Please dont mind me, though. I enjoy going through surveys and swimming around in the numbers. It’s an odd hobby for an artist lady.

    Page 4 of your pdf has Part IV being exactly the same as Part I.
    America’s Adult Age Cohorts page shows 5 generations and throughout the analysis it jumps around between 4 and 5 (Cold War gen is left off some of the graphs) yet the Sample Characteristics by age in the end are divided into 4 groups, dividing some generations in half. Where’s the breakdown of ages into the prior stated generations? Why hasn’t the number of people relating to generations, political ideology, race…. been provided as presented in the graphs?

    How can you say Millennials “place a premium on diversity over merit” like it’s a huge difference in percentages with the results from the other generations (minus gen z).The least you could say is that while both Millennial and Cold war generations are neck and neck with being sure that fair representation is most important in the work place, the survey shows more millennials are unsure of where they stand and, in relation with Gen Z, seem to lean even more towards fair representation than merit.
    If you said you’ve learned “Millennials have less trust for hierarchical structures” like that’s a bad thing, it does do some good to think about how that would play out in jobs. As in politics we hope for the majority of eligible voters to vote therefore tapping into the wisdom of the crowd. The hierarchy would then be reflective of the wisdom of the crowd. To put one against the other is very dangerous and it is what I see as a major problem in our world today especially in the upper echelon of politics. Both parties distrust the other. How many liberals trust the president these days? How many conservatives trusted Obama? Remember how much Obama did to change our lives? Hierarchy is important and must be respected in many instances but it will most always be influenced by the wisdom of the crowd…or the crowd that’s in power. too bad most eligible voters dont vote. A bad head can mess up the whole body.
    I am glad that more younger folk are caring for the environment. No matter how we got to where we are there’s no excuse, in my opinion, to not be an environmentalist. As Billy Graham said after quoting Genesis 1:1, “When we see the world as a gift from God, we will do our best to take care of it and use it wisely, instead of poisoning or destroying it” so, what’s the hold up? Let’s get caring!
    Thank you for this opportunity to ramble.

    • You are correct, the numbers show a split among all generations regarding diversity vs. merit.

      However, it is absolutely key to focus on Millennials because they are in their prime and therefore increasingly entering positions of management and leadership.

      It is unfortunate that Millennials get more hype than Gen X – but that is simply because they are in their 20’s and 30’s and on the cusp.

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