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Singapore millennials expect employers to do more to attract and retain talent

A new study has found that millennials want employers to do more to attract, promote and retain them in Singapore.

The research, conducted by Aon Hewitt  – a global talent, retirement, and health solutions business – found that millennials – those born between 1979 and 2000 believe employers “can do more to attract, promote and retain talent in an organisation”. It seems that current recruitment and development plans are falling short of expectations.

Using data collected from more than three million employee responses in 2014, and a further four million in 2015, employers range from small businesses to complex corporations and span over 60 industries.

There are currently 1.2 million millennials in Singapore today, making up a huge 22 per cent of resident population. They are also the largest demographic in the Singapore workforce, so what can employers do to attract and keep them?

The challenge of engagement

The results largely echo issues we have previously spoken about here at Gradlink. The 2016 Trends in Global Employee Engagement study found that perception scores among millennials fell by five points in terms of talent and staffing. In addition, the study found a dwindling belief in their employer’s ability to appropriately and adequately allocate resources to get the job done.

Elsewhere, it found scores fell by five points in relation to diversity and inclusion. Autonomy and work-life balance also fell by three points.

However, this trend is not consistent when compared to their Asia Pacific neighbours. While Singapore’s engagement is experiencing a low, employee engagement has risen over the last year by eight points in China, five points in India and a huge 13 points in the Philippines.

Gitansh Malik, Regional Leader of Aon Best Employers Asia Programme, noted that the lack of regular feedback and performance reviews is partly responsible for this dip in millennial engagement. He explained that when an employee has poor career visibility, their engagement falters.

"More and more companies in Asia are focusing on the overall employee experience, rather than just pay and benefits,” added Stephen Hickey, Aon Hewitt's partner and executive sponsor of Employee Engagement Practice in Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa. “It’s reflected in the continuous investments and improvements in HR practices that lead to a more positive and productive work experience."

Moving forward

These findings are illustrative of Singapore’s employers’ slow response to changing millennial needs. The findings urge employers to take vital action in order to engage and retain this demographic, which includes many graduates wishing to return to the country.

The study has indicated that in order for an organisation to succeed in a time of volatility, executives and managers must optimise the employee experience. “Managers must communicate a vision around how team members can transform their careers and grow in the organisation,” Mr Malik explained.

The Aon Hewitt study also suggested that “continuous listening” was something that could be achieved through “gathering feedback and taking action across the entire employee life cycle, from pre-recruitment to exit.”

Organisations should seek feedback from their employees concerning the recruitment process, regardless of whether the candidate gets the job or not. The study also suggests that they should “replace annual engagement surveys with quarterly or monthly pulse surveys and conduct exit interviews to understand why an employee is leaving”.

Are you an ASEAN company looking to recruit? What are you doing to attract and retain the best millennial talent?


By David Gee Published: August 05, 2016


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