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TODAY webinar: Job-hopping by youths may bring faster pay rises but can have downsides, panellists warn

SINGAPORE — Youths may be keen to change jobs over the short-term perhaps to get faster pay rises but job-hopping could be a double-edged sword for them, warned panellists at a TODAY webinar on Tuesday (Nov 15).

TODAY's webinar series was held in front of a live audience for the first time in 2022. One webinar on Nov 15, 2022 tackled the question: What are young, restless workers chasing after?

TODAY's webinar series was held in front of a live audience for the first time in 2022. One webinar on Nov 15, 2022 tackled the question: What are young, restless workers chasing after?

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  • TODAY Youth Survey 2022 showed that two in five youths are planning to switch jobs in the next six months, almost half will not choose a job that does not offer work arrangements
  • Panellists at the third session of TODAY’s webinar series said that youths may decide what factors are important for them in a job, but have to be reasonable with their demands
  • TODAY journalist Daryl Choo said that youths can be upfront with their prospective employers about their working preferences during the interview stage, and negotiate with the firms

SINGAPORE — Youths may be keen to change jobs over the short-term perhaps to get faster pay rises but job-hopping could be a double-edged sword for them, warned panellists at a TODAY webinar on Tuesday (Nov 15).

Prospective employers may be concerned, for example, that the person lacked loyalty if he or she jumped from job to job too frequently, they said.

The panellists also sounded a note of caution over the tendency among many youths who prefer remote working.

Such work arrangements may have unintended repercussions on work culture, and the bond among employees, and with employers, they added.

The comments came in the third instalment of TODAY's four-session Live webinar series. The panellists were discussing the topic: What are young, restless workers chasing after? 

The topic was sparked by a finding in TODAY's recent Youth Survey that two in five youth respondents intend to change jobs within the next six months.

Now in its third year, this is the first time that TODAY’s Live webinar series involved a live audience. It was held at the Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

TODAY's webinar series was held in front of a live audience for the first time in 2022.

Members of the audience on-site were invited to submit their questions through the Slido website, while online viewers could ask questions directly in the comments section of the livestream on Instagram and TikTok.

IS JOB-HOPPING GOOD FOR CAREER GROWTH?

Moderator Elizabeth Neo asked panellists about the results of the TODAY Youth Survey, which showed that 39 per cent of youth respondents see themselves staying in their current jobs for between one and three years. She asked if that raised any “red flags”.

One panellist, Mr Adrian Choo, chief executive officer and founder of Career Agility International, said that employees who frequently switch jobs after working for a short period of time, or job hop, will have to risk prospective employers viewing them as lacking in loyalty to the company.

“Three years is a safe time if you want to look whether you can stand the job," Mr Choo said.

"The next question is if the individual moves to a (new) job every one year, or every one and a half years, or every two years, then a problem will emerge.”

The next question is if the individual moves to a (new) job every one year, or every one and a half years, or every two years, then a problem will emerge.
Mr Adrian Choo, chief executive officer and founder of Career Agility International

Another panellist, Ms Tjin Lee, founder of Mercury Marketing and Events, said that three to five years would be a reasonable length of time to learn new skills and develop professionally.

“In our organisation, we usually have people stay between three to five years. And I think that’s a good amount of time to train, elevate and grow individuals,” said Ms Lee.

In response to another question about youths being told not to stay too long at a job due to stagnation in opportunities and salary growth, Mr Choo said that it is true that people will get significant “salary bumps” if they job hop.

This is more lucrative than waiting for an annual 2 to 3 per cent salary increment at their current companies, he added.

However, Mr Choo said that the most important question was whether an employee was growing professionally in their careers, regardless of their length of time in a company.

YOUTHS PREFER REMOTE WORKING ARRANGEMENTS, BUT NOT ALL ROLES CAN ACCOMMODATE THIS

Panellist Jeannie Poon, 24, co-founder of Teahee SG, agreed that remote working is an important factor in a job, especially among her peers.

She was responding to TODAY’s Youth Survey results which showed that almost half of the respondents would not want to choose a job if it did not offer remote working options.

While this may be the preference among youths, it may not be a viable option for all companies, and may even have its downsides.

Ms Lee said that some roles cannot be done remotely, such as public relations and events management roles, which often deal with physical items and spaces. 

She also said that remote work as the default working arrangement may also affect team communication and morale, and company bonding and culture.

Mr Choo added that if remote work was normalised, there is a possibility that Singaporeans would be passed over for employees living in foreign countries instead, who often cost the company less.

But it is reasonable for youths to be upfront about what they want in a job during the interview, including a preference for remote working arrangements, said TODAY journalist Daryl Choo, another panellist. 

He added that while they may be labelled as “entitled” by prospective employers, these youths can accept if employers refuse to accommodate their demands, and move on to another employer who will.

IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH ‘QUIET QUITTING’?

According to Mr Adrian Choo, quiet quitting refers to doing the bare minimum that is required in one’s job, instead of going beyond what is necessary.

He also brought up a new trend, #softlife, which refers to prioritising mental wellness over one’s work.

While the panellists agreed that prioritising mental health, work-life balance and time for rest are important, some said that there are repercussions to quiet quitting, such as lack of job and salary promotions.

Employees who choose to “quiet quit” then have to manage their expectations and understand that they may not receive promotions and salary raises.

“From an employer’s point of view, we do see the people that have more drive, more gusto, and they do get promoted faster because of course we want to reward their hard work," said Ms Lee.

"If you don’t perform, and you get left behind, then you will start to resent the company. After a while, that’s a very unhealthy relationship between employee and company because you will feel like you are being passed by."

Ms Lee added that youths should ask themselves if by quiet quitting they are "okay without the promotion" or the year-end bonus.

"If you are okay with this kind of life, you are okay with not having it all, then no judgement at all. Quiet quitting may be right for some people, but it’s not going to be right for everyone,” she said.

Ms Poon also said that it is up to individual employees to exercise their own judgement and decide their priorities in a job, such as a company’s values and salary.

'DON’T GENERALISE ABOUT GEN Z'

While youths may have new and different work preferences, it is important not to generalise over the characteristics of all “Generation Z” employees, said Ms Lee. 

Ms Lee was caught in a controversy online for her remarks on Instagram last July about an increasing number of young people who seem unmotivated to work hard in their jobs.

She noted that while there are young employees who choose to “quiet quit”, not all young employees are the same, saying that there are young people who have passion and goals in their careers. 

One respondent from the live audience said that the discussion among panellists was useful in navigating working life in the future.

“From what I learnt, it is very important for us to consider our options before we approach employers with our demands,” said NUS High School student Mattias Kon, 17.

Nanyang Technological University Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information undergraduate Lai Hui Ting, 23, said that it was insightful to hear the perspectives of public relations employers and professionals.

She said that she would like to hear more from young employees about their views on work-life arrangements.

“I learnt that it is important to always be hungry and learn more, as well as taking initiative in the workplace. Communicating effectively with your employer is also important to ensure your goals are aligned,” said Ms Lai.

Related topics

TODAY Youth Survey 2022 quiet quitting Gen Z

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