Attracting and retaining Millennials in Asia: Is the “two-year rule” really the norm?

By Nick Lambe, Group Managing Director, Links International

You will no doubt have heard the term “jumpy CV” when referring to candidates who have changed jobs fairly frequently. The question is, what is considered a “jumpy CV” and how long should a candidate remain in one job before moving to the next, in order to avoid appearing non-committal? Our 2017 Asia Salary Snapshot (our annual salary guide) shows that almost 70% of candidates have been in their current role for less than three years.

I was in the gym the other day and overheard a conversation between a couple of young guys about exactly this:

Gym Guy 1:

‘’Hey how are you? How is work going?”

Gym Guy 2:

‘’Good thanks, mate! I just started a new role”

Gym Guy 1:

‘’Wow didn’t you just move recently?”

Gym Guy 2:

‘’That was two years ago, mate!”

Gym Guy 1:

‘’That’s not that long ago!”

Gym Guy 2:

‘’It the two-year rule, mate. Everyone knows that!”

This led me to think about Gen Z or Millennials, and the fact that, as recruitment consultants in Asia, we are still seeing a large number of “jumpy CVs” out in the market compared to how it was with other generations. Is this “two-year rule” really the new norm?

Millennials in general are looking for more money, less work and better promotions, so, as they change jobs in search of this, perhaps this is the way that the market is going. This inevitably leads to a number of major challenges for corporations, such as:attracting-and-retaining-millennials-in-asia-is-the-two-year-rule-really-the-norm-2.jpg

  1. How to attract and retain millennials

      This is especially important if you are a startup or           an SME.

  • Have a strong employer brand – Your employer brand clearly communicates your company culture, mission and values to your prospective employees and sets you apart from the competition. Millennials will value companies whose employer brands they find inspiring.
  • Offer enticing perks aside from remuneration – Development and work-life balance are more important to Millennials than financial rewards. They care predominantly about developing their careers and enjoying flexible working hours first, with cash bonuses and a good salary of slightly less importance on the whole.
  • Allow for flexibility – Millennials will get the work done by the deadline you set them, but that doesn’t mean they will want to do it in the office in the set office hours. Provided they get the work done, give them the freedom to have a flexible schedule.
  • Always give feedback – Millennials need frequent feedback in real time. Don’t wait until their annual review to give feedback on their performance in the business; highlight positive contributions or suggest improvements as and when you notice them.
  • Provide travel opportunities, if applicable – The younger generation loves to travel and experience new cultures whilst developing their career. If you have offices or do some kind of business overseas, this could be a way to entice Millennials to work with you.2. How to train and develop these individuals

  • Encourage learning– Millennials on the whole are keen to learn and develop, so offer them relevant training. If you focus on developing high potentials and senior people instead of engaging Millennials with development opportunities, you could risk losing future talent.
  • Be open to faster career advancement – Millennials value results over seniority and tenure, and can often become frustrated if it takes too long to advance up the career ladder. If a particular Millennial is a high achiever and is eager to advance their career, be open to this and give them the opportunity to do so.

          3. How to ensure that the onboarding process is effective to achieve the maximum productivity               in the shortest time frame 

  • Make their first day easy – Send them an email or a text the day before their first day to let them know their plan for day one and don’t forget to mention how much everyone is looking forward to them joining. Ask them to come in half an hour to an hour after the normal work day starts, so that they have plenty of time to arrive on time. 
  • Throw them in the deep-end – Millennials thrive on challenges and learning, so it is key to guide them in the role but also set clear expectations and timeframes for performance and stick to them.Links International specialises in recruiting top talent across Asia and provides detailed advice based on HR trends. If you are looking to grow your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.