'Generation Y can't we have it all' workers hard to retain

'Generation Y can't we have it all' workers hard to retain

Young employees have higher expectations than their older colleagues when it comes to pay and work-life balance, according to a new survey.

It found that 59 per cent of firms here found it difficult to retain Gen Y employees - those born between 1979 and 1999 - as they have high expectations for career advancement and want more remuneration than bosses are prepared to pay.

The survey by recruitment firm Robert Half polled 2,100 chief financial officers and finance directors across 15 countries, including 150 in Singapore.

"Gen Y is the generation that 'wants it all' and they 'want it now' - good pay, benefits, rapid career advancement, work-life harmony, interesting and meaningful work," said Ms Stella Tang, director of Robert Half Singapore, yesterday.

Singapore had the second highest percentage of firms struggling to retain Gen Y employees.

"Most of them want a faster career progression path and higher pay. The traditional way of paying your dues first does not resonate with them," said assistant director of corporate services at human resource consultancy The GMP Group Josh Goh.

National University of Singapore final-year mechanical engineering student Nicholas Lee, 24, told The Straits Times: "Within one or two years, if I don't see myself progressing or decide that I'm not interested in the job, I might consider moving to a new company or industry."

While work-life balance is "secondary" during the initial stages, Mr Lee said that would change if and when he starts a family: "I wouldn't mind slowing down for a bit."

Mr Tng Chua Hock, 74, founder of distribution firm Tec-Hub, said: "Times have changed and employers must take note of that. Younger people have different aspirations nowadays."

Mr Goh said a multi-generational employee pool is "critical for any company's long-term survival". "While the younger generation is required for the company's rejuvenation, the mature talent... has all the company and industry knowledge... and they are generally more stable," he said.

chiaym@sph.com.sg


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