Asian Millennials have loftier career ambitions than their global counterparts, and they’re more willing to leave home for work than their predecessors. So they’re all set for success, right?
Sure thing, employment experts say, if only they can temper some that very desire to climb the corporate ladder.
In a January poll by Deloitte, 65 per cent of Asian employees born after 1982 responded that they aimed to become the highest-ranked person at their current firm, compared to 45 per cent of North Americans and 37 per cent of Western Europeans of the same age who gave the same answer.
Those ambitions are also reflected in employment turnover, with Chinese and Indians now more likely to swap jobs than other nationalities, according to anecdotes from human-resources directors.
“What the millennials are saying is ‘we want a big sense of responsibility and we want ownership in what we do, we want the recognition’,” said Kit Foong, a Singapore-based director at Universum, which helps companies brand themselves to prospective hires.
“They want a bit more of a fast-track career relative to the generations prior.”
Asians are currently under-represented on the boards of the largest companies in the US In a 2012 Fortune 500 ranking of top US businesses, only 2.2 per cent had a chief executive officer of Asian-Pacific extraction, according to Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, a US-based advocacy group.
That compares with an Asian population that makes up 6 per cent of the total in the US Three years later, PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are among the few high-profile Asian bosses in the US
And globally there is a shortfall in the number of Asians at the helm of corporations, even though six of the top 20 economies in the world by gross domestic product are in the Far East.
But there are signs this situation could change with the Millennial generation.
For one, Asian businesses are entering new, non-Asian markets at a greater pace than ever before – giants like Huawei Technologies and Alibaba are just two examples – and the region itself is increasing its share of the world economy. China had 95 companies in Fortune’s 2014 Global 500 list, while India had eight. A decade earlier, the same tally was 15 and four respectively.
Also, the generation now hitting the labour market is Asia’s most international and connected to date, with a grip of technology and global trends that could put them ahead in a quickly-evolving business environment.
With 83 per cent of smartphone penetration, Asian Millennials top their counterparts in the US, Europe and Latin America.