RSM Thailand

Staffing : The Y Factor - Headaches for recruitment agencies in Thailand

We’ve all heard of the X Factor and I'm sure that conjures up several images. But with reference to general staffing and skills shortages, which seem to be an issue for many organisations, we wonder whether enough time has been spent in actually understanding the generation differences within our markets? Has consideration been given to the new generation emerging in the staff recruitment programs - the Y generation?

We would guess that many of us are familiar with the generation known as "The Baby Boomers". However, did you know that this generation would now group anyone born in the 1950's into this category? 

It was certainly a wake-up call as to how quickly time passes.

The study actually identified four main generation groups that can be used to help give a general understanding of the different core values and work ethics of the individuals that firms may be seeking to recruit and retain:

The Veterans (born 1945 or before)

The Baby Boomers (born 1946 - 1963)

Generation X (born 1964 - 1981)

Generation Y (born 1982 or after)

We guess that in future there may be a Generation COVID to cover those whose ability to sit high school examinations or university final year degree examinations has been impacted with their qualifications being decided by predictions based on assessments based on course work completed during the academic peroids leading up to the examinations.

It's perhaps easiest to understand the Veterans group. These individuals were greatly influenced by the world wars and the study categorises their core values as cautious and traditional, with hard-working, dependable and loyal work ethics. In contrast, the Baby Boomers were influenced by the 'Atomic Age', much greater prosperity and, of course, the lunar landing and Rock & Roll. Their core values are optimistic, experimental and non-conformist. They are generally workaholics, accepting of high stress levels and are team orientated. They value titles and status in their professional careers and expect sacrifice from sub-ordinates.

The X generation represents a key group in current staff recruitment programs. Their formative influences ranged from economic recession, nuclear threat and the advent of Aids to the Pop Music culture and personal computing. Generally, this group is comfortable with technology, adaptive to change and confident in their own abilities. Their work ethic is very much based on 'working within the system'. They have a desire to be recognised for professional achievements and a willingness to make personal sacrifices for career advancement. They are generally 'goal' motivated, but there is a strong desire for job security. 

We would guess that the X group represents a substantial proportion of the staffing in many firms. However, what about the next group, the Y group? The study made some interesting points, which may well be worth noting in your graduate recruitment programs. The Y generation have come from a background characterised by mobile technology, increased violence and terror, mass media marketing and the advent of Dance/Rap music. Their general background is more child and community focused. As distinct from the X generation, their core values are more diverse and optimistic, with more global awareness and a general 'street smart' approach. They seek a more balanced work and social life, with the work environment being a more fun and communal place. However, their approach to work is more independent and entrepreneurial. They will seek more challenges and variety and will want to continuously develop their skills. 

There is a general lack of loyalty and commitment to any particular organisation, and so, if they are not learning, they will move on. The offer of a flexible work place and a better work-life balance are clichés to this generation. What they really want is respect and control.

With over 72 million people worldwide in the cohort currently entering the workforce, employers are standing up and taking notice. Generation Y is the group that will fuel the talent wars for the next decade or more. For employers, members of Generation Y offer a set of highly desirable traits; they are well educated, technically savvy, and have grown up with constant pressure from society and family to achieve. 

Whilst of course the study is only general in nature, it suggests companies need to embrace new HR processes and understand that techniques used to motivate Baby Boomers won't necessarily work with Generation Y.

The Thailand executive recruiters and executive search firms would probably come across more of the workforce that fit into generation X and Y categories and this is also true about the RSM recruitment agency in Bangkok. However, we may be commenting in future RSM Recruitment placement articles on the "Generation COVID"  group that were forced to accustom themselves to new technological processes such as meetings and interviews conducted by webex and zoom as well as working from home. - Watch this space!

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