Nearly 1 in 3 grads quit first job in less than a year: Survey

SINGAPORE — About one in two young Singaporeans, or 47 per cent, take between one and three months to land their first job after finishing their studies. Nearly one-third, or 31 per cent, quit in less than a year.These were the findings of an online survey conducted in July and last month by job site, which canvassed responses from 2,368 jobseekers and employers in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

In Singapore, more than 500 graduates and employers were polled.Nearly seven in 10 graduates (67 per cent) who left their first job in less than 12 months cited the lack of professional growth as a main reason for quitting.Other reasons included the desire to earn a higher wage (42 per cent) and to steer their career in another direction (30 per cent).

As for the biggest challenges they faced in their first jobs, 61 per cent singled out a lack of industry knowledge, followed by a lack of mentorship (34 per cent). Some were not prepared for working life (27 per cent), struggled with long working hours (25 per cent), or lacked adequate feedback or support from their direct managers (23 per cent). Asia-Pacific and Middle East managing director Sanjay Modi said young people clearly expect to advance quickly in their first jobs.“They want promotions and pay rises, and they crave the leadership and support necessary to get there.”But for fresh graduates, it is a “wake-up call” to give themselves time to grow into a job fully and figure out where their strengths lie, he added.As for job interviews, a majority said their biggest regret was not asking questions (60 per cent), while about half cited the failure to do adequate research as a mistake (51 per cent). One-tenth of those surveyed here believed they made the blunder of focusing too much on salary.

Across the region, half the employers polled said fresh graduates brought up salary during the initial interview. Fifty-three per cent of employers thought this was “unprofessional”, noting that candidates should focus instead on the role and how they would fit in.Communications graduate Russell Chua, 26, landed his first job as a content strategist at a social-media agency in November 2015. He left about seven months later.

Speaking to TODAY, Mr Chua said he was “stagnating” in the position, due partly to a lack of clear career progression. He wanted to build more specialised skills and chase “further growth”.
Pay was also a factor. “Many companies take a more passive approach towards rewarding their employees and that results in more job-hopping,” said Mr Chua, now a content marketer with a start-up.

A 26-year-old psychology graduate, who wanted to be known only as George, left his job as an executive in a healthcare institution in February after working for about six months.
He was hoping for a role that involved “more people management”, but his job was more focused on project management and handling logistics. He also received minimal guidance from his supervisors. “As a fresh graduate, you hope that people can be a bit more understanding (and) ease you into the role more,” he told TODAY.

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