More Millennials in emerging markets, such as the Philippines, are eyeing the top post in their current organizations compared to Millennials in developed markets. This according to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial survey, released by Philippine member practice Navarro Amper & Co.

More than six in 10 (65 percent) Millennials in emerging markets aspire to become the “leader or most senior executive within their current organization,” compared to fewer than four in 10 (38 percent) in developed markets such as France and Germany. Similarly, 65 percent of Millennials in emerging markets would like to “get to a senior position, but not number one,” compared to 54 percent in developed markets.

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The annual survey collected the views of 7,806 Millennials representing 29 countries around the globe. All respondents were born after 1982, have obtained a college or university degree, are employed fulltime, and predominantly work in large (100+ employees) private-sector organizations. In the Philippines, 300 millennials were polled.

The difference in leadership aspirations among Millennials in emerging markets and those in developed markets may suggest complacency or even a lack of ambition on the part of the latter.

“It’s possible that Millennials in developed markets feel they will do all right in life even if they aren’t CEOs of large businesses,” says Greg Navarro, managing partner and CEO of professional services firm Navarro Amper & Co. “This could also mean that young, educated professionals in emerging markets see that there is a path for them to reach the top, which makes them more driven to work towards that goal.”

This drive was also apparent in future career plans of Millennials: when asked what they would do if they were to move jobs, 22 percent of Millennials in emerging markets said they would consider starting their own business; only 11 percent of their counterparts in developed markets would go the entrepreneurial route.

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Regardless of geography, Millennials feel that when they left college, they did not offer the full range of skills that today’s businesses are looking for. When asked to estimate the contributions that skills gained in higher education made to the achievement of their organization’s goals, Millennials’ average figure is 37 percent.

“This tells us that two-thirds of the skills required of Millennials to make meaningful contributions to organizational objectives were gained while they were already employed,” says Navarro. “For businesses, this is a clear sign that it pays to invest in continuous training, and we can probably even stretch this further to say that having a mentoring or coaching program is something that would benefit, maybe attract, Millennials.”

The survey also showed that skills gained in higher education contribute only 40 percent to the fulfillment of day-to-day roles and responsibilities, and 42 percent towards meeting longer-term career aspirations.

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This gap between the skills Millennials possess and those required by their current employers can be partly explained by an assessment of the qualities Millennials believe they bring to the table upon graduation.

With the obvious exceptions of academic knowledge or intellectual ability, Millennials say they are stronger on “soft” attributes such as being professional, hard-working, flexible, and in possession of integrity and maturity. But they don’t think these are the traits businesses value the most.

When asked to rate the skills and attributes they believe businesses are currently prepared to pay the highest salaries for, Millennials pointed to the qualities that were relatively under-developed at graduation: Leadership was considered most valuable (mentioned by 39 percent) but only 24 percent thought this was a strong personal trait on graduation (a gap of 15 points). Relatively large gaps also exist with respect to “sales and marketing” (-15), “general business knowledge” (-12), “entrepreneurialism” (-10), and “financial/economic knowledge” (-9).

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The gap as regards leadership varied significantly across markets, with the gap in the large economies of the US (-14), France (-16) and Japan (-17) hovering close to the global average of 15 points, while the gap in the Philippines (-10), India (-4), and Indonesia (-1) were below average.

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“It’s good to note that compared to other Millennials, young Filipino professionals are relatively confident about their leadership skills, but the results in general suggest that there should be closer coordination between businesses and the academe in preparing graduates for employment,” says Navarro. “While it is a fact that there are skills that can only be learned on the ground, that is, when one is already doing the job, there is no denying the advantage of a Millennial who already possesses business acumen straight out of university.”

The survey also revealed that there is a small gender gap between Filipino men and women Millennials when it comes to their perceived leadership skills: Seven percent more Filipino men than women said “leadership” was an individual strength, compared to Peru where 20 percent more men than women said they possess strong leadership skills. In no country do significantly more women than men say they had strong leadership skills upon graduation.

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