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Top career goals of Malaysian Millennials



Human Resources Online is heading to Bangkok with the Accelerate HR conference on November 26-27.
HR leaders from Agoda, DKSH, Fonterra, FWD, Kasikornbank, Minor Food, Nissan Motor and more have already confirmed to speak.
Bring your team for additional group discounts.

Want to attract the top business and engineering/IT talent in Malaysia? Offer them work-life balance.

According to the latest Universum Talent Survey, polling more than 117,000 respondents, the top career goal of both business (63%) and engineering/IT (58%) students in Malaysia is to have work life balance.

For both business and engineering/IT students, work-life balance was closely followed by being secure and stable in their jobs (45% and 43% respectively), to have an international career (33% for both), to be a leader or people manager (29% and 24% respectively), and to be autonomous or independent (17% and 31% respectively).

Over the straits in Singapore, while work-life balance topped the list of career goals for both business and engineering/IT students (67% and 66% respectively) and both sets of students would like to be secure or stable in their jobs (54% business and 52% engineering/IT); the students in Singapore prioritised being a leader or manager of people (29% business, 23% engineering/IT) and to be dedicated to a cause or to feel that they are serving a greater good (29% business, 39% engineering/IT) over having an international career (26% business, 15% engineering/IT).

AlSO READ: Millennials are willing to change jobs for $0.50 more per hour

When expressing what they want in their ideal employers, the report noted that Millennials in APAC are highly focused on their working environment and in achieving work/life balance.

Top preferences of those in engineering/IT include a creative and dynamic work environment, good reference for future career, high future earnings, a friendly work environment, and professional training and development.

Similarly, the top preferences of those in business include good reference for future career, high future earnings, professional training and development, a friendly work environment, and a creative and dynamic work environment.

“Gen-Y wants to work in an environment that’s creative, dynamic, respectful and, importantly, friendly. These desires now supersede those for large remuneration packages and working for employers with the strongest market position,” the report stated.

It added that the trend is something that was first seen in Western economies in recent years and has been growing in significance in APAC, demonstrating that prioritising a working environment is, indeed, intrinsic of today’s millennial generation.

Joakim Ström, managing director APAC, Universum said; “Even now, we are still seeing many western MNC’s treating Asia as one market and not localising their messaging to talent. Talent in Asia is as diverse as the region itself, and employers need to be strategic if they want to compete at the very top”.

READ MORE: Four ways to reverse Malaysia’s brain drain

The survey also revealed the most desired employers among business and engineering/IT students in the Asia Pacific region.

Overall in APAC, Google maintained its grip on the top spot this year for both business and engineering students while the remaining top 10 most attractive employers among business students were:

  • #1 Google
  • #2 Apple
  • #3 McKinsey & Co
  • #4 Goldman Sachs
  • #5 Procter & Gamble
  • #6 EY (Ernst & Young)
  • #7 PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • #8 Deloitte
  • #9 L’Oréal Group
  • #10 KPMG

Rachele Focardi, SVP of employer branding at Universum, said: “These rankings demonstrate a clear correlation between what employers offer to talent and how desirable they are. It comes as no surprise to me that there are now as many FMCG companies in the top 25 for business students as there are banks. Banks have struggled to offer the sorts of environmental factors that top talent now demands, whereas FMCG companies, such as Unilever and P&G, have done much better”

Among business students,  the once dominant banks only now have one employer ranked in the top ten. The professional services, auditing and accounting firms are the industry of choice for business talent, occupying fifty per cent of the top ten. However, when asked about their most preferred industries, banks and financial services remained in the top spot at 30%, followed by management and strategy consulting (30%), and auditing and accounting (26%).

ALSO READ: The top 8 benefits Millennials want

On the other hand, the remaining top 10 most attractive employers among engineering / IT students were:

  • #1 Google
  • #2 Microsoft
  • #3 Apple
  • #4 IBM
  • #5 Samsung
  • #6 BMW Group
  • #7 GE
  • #8 Siemens
  • #9 Toyota
  • #10 Sony

Although companies in the tech space who dominate the very top of the rankings, engineering/IT students, were found to gravitate more towards industries including engineering and manufacturing (27%), telecommunication and networks (17%), and software and computer services (17%).

Focardi said: “Competition among employers in Asia is really heating up, every day we’re seeing employers sit up and take more notice of their employer brand.

“The APAC rankings serve as a good barometer of how large MNC’s are performing regionally in the war for talent but, to see how the battle looks within the individual markets, you really need to view the country rankings, which show that the domestic employers are now competing at the top in their home markets.

“This surge from the domestic employers that we’ve seen in the past few years has largely been driven by the way talent sees them as friendlier and less likely to negatively impact work/life balance.”

Photo / 123RF



Uncover and learn about complex HR innovation tools and strategies at Accelerate HR from Thailand's largest employers including Agoda, DKSH, Fonterra, FWD, Kasikornbank, Minor Food, Nissan Motor and more.
Happening in Bangkok on 26-27 November, group discounts when you bring your team.

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