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Fresh grads then and now

March 10, 2008

What do you do when the fresh youngster you’re hiring drives a more expensive car than the managers in your company, has the latest phone that cost a bomb, supplementary credit cards, and doesn’t even look like he needs a job?

Yeah I know not everyone’s like that but could there be some truth to the grumblings that the workforce is changing? Some employers see the patterns and are scratching their heads. Last time, fresh grads were modestly dressed and had a humble demeanor. Today, the typical urban fresh grad comes with –

  • the latest Nokia or Sony phone (>$1,500)
  • a decent notebook pc (>$2,500)
  • an iPod (>$400)
  • cool hairstyle (>$50 per cut)
  • sips iced coffee at Starbucks (>$10 a pop)
  • and a car (at least a Kancil) (>$20,000)

The mindset’s changed too. They seem overly concerned about work location, who’s the boss, got parking or not, etc etc and are quick to turn down an offer on little things like “Waaa so far leh, I have to drive across town!” And you thought at times like these, the only thing you’ll be hearing is, “Hire me! I’ll do anything!”

But nothing’s taking a beating more than loyalty or more accurately the lack of it. Young talents are leaving for the most superficial of reasons. The other company pays $200 more. Or my friend works there and I wanna join her.

In other words, today’s young urban workforce is more affluent, mobile and fickle than a decade ago. They get bored or unsettled very easily. They are less formal, less compliant and more critical. They don’t take hierarchies as seriously as you do.

Why does any of this matter? Because firstly, if your company needs to attract and keep talent to remain competitive, you’ll find that its simply getting harder and harder to hang on to good people. Secondly, every resignation cost money. Real money. That’ll be the cost of hiring, retraining, business interruption and opportunity cost each time they lose someone, not to mention the knock-on effects of internal friction caused by frequent staff changes. Ironically nobody I know calculates the dollars and cents cost of a resignation so the real damage remains hidden. Big mistake.

Why do companies boast that people are their greatest asset when their actions tell the opposite story – that people are expendable. Now the tables are being turned. Its the companies that are becoming expendable, being treated as training grounds and bearing the cost. Sounds like karma to me.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2008 11:34 am

    most companies will say that you can be replaced easily. true, if what they are doing is non-brainer stuff. 🙂 not much retraining. nowadays people are getting desperate for jobs. there are some ‘spoilt brats’ out there…but sooner or later, they will learn that their “fortune” doesn’t last forever. 😛 i used to be addicted into luxury stuff…buy this n that…and if too far, i don wan to go try…bla bla bla. now, not anymore. haha.

  2. damien permalink*
    April 7, 2008 8:14 am

    Alvin: Welcome to my blog. Somehow WordPress flagged your comment as spam and it was buried for a while. I just despammed it. So you were a spoilt brat too huh. But it looks like you are one of the few who’s tunring out ok, he he.

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