JOHANNESBURG - Millennials only made up 28percent of the workforce five years ago, but now account for more than 50percent.

This is according to Nomha Kumalo, head of organised labour and public sector at Momentum Corporate, who was speaking at the Momentum Corporate Partnership Connect Roadshow in Cape Town on Friday which focused on current and future workforce trends in South Africa.

Kumalo said there was a significant shift in the percentage of millennials in the workforce.

“Five years ago there were only 28percent and now half of the workforce (51percent) are millennials. The tech generation is here, they don't even make a call on the cellphone, we don't think about those things, but those are the social factors. I did not own a cellphone until I started working, it did not exist in my life. There was a thing called a library and I had to sit up sometime, I would walk from my room, eat supper and go spend hours in the library. Children today, before Grade 1 have iPads. How many of you have bought your child under 5 years an iPad?That’s what they relate to, you give them the latest phone and they know how to operate it,” she said.

Kumalo said by 2020 South Africa would have 24percent of the workforce coming from Generation Z.

“So what has changed in terms of their income levels? Interesting enough, Generation Z have the highest average annual increase. What could be driving that? They are multi-skilled workers, they change jobs quite soon, they come into the business, they are able to upskill, they are able to respond to technological development and they move around, they are looking for experience, income is there to create experiences.”

She said significantly in South Africa, 74percent of people still earned less than R150000 a year.

“Employers, largely, are still offering the same type of benefits, they are even called death benefits and disability benefits, retirement savings, but nothing has changed really in the past five years.

“What needs to change and it is not the underlining part, is not technical, but how we think about unexpected events in an industry; people are unique, however, we need to now understand those needs.

“How do we take this unique individual and advocate it in terms of thinking about solutions, how we communicate, and really what we thought about was irrespective of that uniqueness. There are some journeys in life, events that impact most human beings.”

Kumalo added that changing jobs was a big focus for Momentum as it could make or break a person's financial journey.

She added that the key thing that really affected the financial journey of South Africans was the economy which had a big impact.

“The most interesting thing is that almost all life goals have got financial implications, whether you want to retire, whether you want to go on holiday, whether you want to have a child, whether you want to stay married or not, money is in all of these things we do. Vulnerability is the extent to which people are going to be impacted by the economy and how it impacts them.”

PERSONAL FINANCE