Britain's first 'Generation Y' FTSE CEO is expected to be appointed by 2016

  • The first Generation Y CEO (born after 1980) to lead a British FTSE company is expected to be appointed by 2016, according to Deloitte's Upwardly Mobile report, funded by EE
  • This 'changing of the guard' will bring about huge shift in organisational culture and business mobility, enabling employees to work whenever and wherever they like
  • According to the report, British businesses have suffered a 'lost decade' of mobility, with only a fifth of employees currently equipped to work efficiently out of the office and on the move

Britain's first ever 'Generation Y' FTSE CEO is expected to be appointed by 2016, according to new independent research from Deloitte.  The Upwardly Mobile report, funded by EE, explores how future CEOs, currently aged 33 and under, will transform British business in numerous ways. Most notably they will bring about a sea change in organisational culture by mobile-enabling daily work processes and routine tasks, enabling employees to respond faster, while boosting productivity and staff engagement.  

These future leaders, who have grown up with mobile technology, are frustrated by the absence of a mobility culture in British businesses. Only 21 per cent of employees in large businesses are equipped to productively work away from their desks. This frustration is why three in four Gen Y workers want to do more with mobile devices at work.  As a result 19 per cent of employees are already using a personal mobile device at work, whether they are allowed to or not. For example, they are using their mobile devices to collaborate on documents in the cloud and take notes quickly and easily using a smartphone or tablet.

Lost decade of mobility

The impending Gen Y-led transformation of large organisations could not come at a more crucial time for the UK economy. The report claims that British businesses have suffered a 'lost decade' of under-investment in mobility, despite their high technological readiness.

Two key issues underlie this missed opportunity that has resulted in lost productivity gains and cost savings worth millions of pounds.

Firstly, trust is a defining characteristic of companies failing to embrace mobility. 60 per cent of British workers believe presenteeism exists in the workplace, with half of respondents being discouraged from working away from their desks. Secondly, British businesses still see mobile technology as a cost and a security risk, rather than a strategic enabler.

Consumers are way ahead of businesses in using mobile internet enabled devices to make informed decisions. By 2016, 80 per cent of the British population will be using mobile devices this way, whereas only 35 per cent of employees in large businesses in the UK currently use a smartphone to complete work.

Businesses have been slow to integrate mobile-enabled processes and practices into the fabric of their organisation, such that only one in five workers consider themselves to be mobile, with 68 per cent seeing a clear disparity between their mobile experience at home and at work. Less than one in five large organisations provide mobile apps to employees to complete routine tasks and only five per cent of employees use a mobile device to access corporate information. 

The Gen Y influence

The Upwardly Mobile report points out that, by the end of the decade, Gen Y will make up half the workforce in Britain. The inclusive, people-centric management style of Gen Y leaders is likely to encourage a diversity of working styles where employees choose how and when, rather than where, they complete their work. By contrast, the conventional approach to mobility prevalent today is characterised by organisations prescribing ways employees should complete their work.

Gen Y workers welcome new technology. The report finds that 78 per cent of Gen Y workers would value greater use of mobile technology within their company. They are the heaviest users of mobile apps and 52 per cent say they think mobile working improves their productivity.

Getting it right before 2016

The report outlines a 10-point self-assessment to formulating a transformational mobility strategy.  These points are designed to encourage senior executives to collectively work through the challenges that exist across their organisation. It includes questions to be addressed by individual executives:

  • CEOs and CFOs should define how mobility can add organisational value
  • COOs need to adopt key performance indicators which will help measure how mobility contributes to their firm’s business goals
  • CIOs are challenged with provisioning and managing fleets of mobile devices across multiple systems, databases and applications, to mobile-enable organisational processes where required
  • HR directors are urged to develop a mobile working policy that clearly sets out the organisation’s commitment to remote working.

As Deloitte states in the report: "We are approaching a 'mobility watershed' where future leaders will demand that organisations make use of mobility in a way that is not evident today."

Gerry McQuade, Chief Marketing Office for Business at EE, said: "Generation Y makes up half the British workforce and it's essential that we constantly adapt our work culture, our processes and the technology that enable our employees to work more productively and efficiently. The most important asset any business has is its people – and using the latest technology at work can help attract the best talent. That's why we've funded this report and set up a Generation Y panel to challenge our working practices, and start to identify ways we can improve. We've asked six of EE's brightest young stars to meet regularly with EE directors to help us devise a vision for Gen Y company working practices."

The Upwardly Mobile report was based on responses from over 1,000 employees and interviews with 20 directors from companies like Royal Mail, John Lewis and Oxfam.

For more information or to download the report, please visit

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

About the survey

Deloitte's report, Upwardly Mobile: Redefining business mobility in Britain, features quantitative and qualitative research, which took place during May 2013. It comprises:

  • An online survey of 1,038 UK-based employees who work in organisations that employ more than 1,000 staff
  • 20 in-depth interviews with senior industry leaders, including directors from (but not limited to) the following firms:
  • Royal Mail
  • Kier
  • John Lewis Partnership
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Oxfam
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Cancer Research UK
  • TUI Travel
  • BP Lubricants
  • NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Mobile maturity self-assessment

The report features ten strategies in the form of self-assessment that senior executives can collectively work through to promote greater mobile working within their organisations. This is supplemented by five starting strategies to embed a redefined understanding of mobility in the organisation at an operational and cultural level. These are:

  1. Understand mobility as an enabler of organisational strategy
  2. Enable employee flexibility e.g. accommodate Bring Your Own Device
  3. Nominate a mobility champion
  4. Identify uses of mobility and prioritise enablement
  5. Adopt an incremental approach to improvements

For more information, please contact the EE press team on: or

020 7544 3735


Tiffini Winn, T: 020 7544 3758 / M: 07540 180595, E:

About EE

EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. With more than 15,000 employees and 600 retail stores, EE serves more than 27 million customers on EE, Orange and T-Mobile mobile and broadband plans.

EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, having introduced the UK's first and only superfast 4G mobile service in 2012. In July 2013 EE's 4G coverage reached nearly 60% of the UK population, with plans to cover 98% of the population by 2014. 2G and 3G coverage currently reaches more than 99% of the population. EE's superfast fibre broadband service reaches 13 million premises, and fixed broadband reaches 99% UK population. 

EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics, and Best Business Network at the Mobile Industry Awards 2013.

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About Deloitte

In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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