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Generation R

A new generation of pampered graduates wants wealth, position and power. And if employers don't give them what they want, they'll find it elsewhere



Generation R

Are you Generation R?

If you're a recent graduate who's rich, loves to take risks, who's rude, rough and in a rush, then you're branded Generation R.

And employers hate you.

"This lot is the worst," says Piyamitr Rangsitienchai, chief executive officer of Qualifiles, a recruitment and career-consultation firm. "I've been working in the field for 15 years, and I've never seen more irresponsible people than this generation."

"Rich" refers to graduates who don't take work seriously because they come from middle- or upper-middle-class families and are pampered by their parents.

"Some families aren't rich, but the parents love their children so much that they don't want them to get tired or hurt. So they're still willing to pay for all their kids' expenses and put food on their table.

As a result, there are a lot of recent graduates who don't feel compelled to find a job," says Piyamitr, who coined the term Generation R and came up with its definition.

 

Parents don't encourage or motivate their children to face up to life's challenges, says Rangsan Saengsook, president of Ramkhamhaeng University.

"They have maids who do their household chores, otherwise their mothers care for them. Some of these young adults don't even know how to heat instant noodles in a microwave; their mommies always did it for them. Thai parents are very protective," he notes.

"In Western countries, kids find part-time jobs when they're 17 years of age, or even younger," Rangsan says.

"But in Thailand, when kids complain about the challenges they face at work, their parents advise them not to be anyone's slave. 'Just quit and I'll give you the money,' they say. If parents continue to side with their kids, they'll have to raise them until they're old."

Because of their overprotected upbringing, some graduates never learn to endure hardships.

"Many children these days have never taken a bus. Their parents drive them to school and buy them a car when they graduate," says Nipon Surapongrukchareon, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries and advisor to the Human Capacity Building Institute.

"They have very few chances to face difficulties, and as a result are easily upset and often give in easily," Nipon says.

"New graduates don't stay very long at any job. They quit when they begin to encounter difficulties."

The second characteristic of Generation R - risk taking - refers to recent graduates' willingness to make quick decisions without thinking about the pros and cons. 

Without a clear career objective, members of Generation R make frivolous decisions, Piyamitr says. 

"Graduates are easily swayed when they're faced with better options or benefits," he says.

"Yes, there are plenty of job offers out there. But if they grab every opportunity that comes their way then it shows in their resume." 

Job hopping can damage a person's career. 

"It's okay to change jobs because employers understand that recent graduates are in a process of self discovery," says Satinee Mokaves, managing director of jobdb.com.

 

"But when you change jobs too often, employers begin to doubt whether it's worth hiring you since you might move when the next opportunity comes along."

Graduates should try to limit themselves to two jobs in three years, Satinee says.

The best way to stick with a job, she says, is to make sure it's right before accepting it.  "Ideally, young people should start thinking about their careers before choosing their study programme," she observes.

Gen-R people tend to be rough.  Recent graduates often are superficial, with no serious commitments, says Piyamitr.

 

They're fast to bargain with prospective employers using their current salary package as a stepladder. 

"People are soft because of money," he says. "And those who are

driven by money will come and go. They rotate as if they were interns, and this is specifically true for high-calibre graduates."

Satinee of jobdb.com agrees.

"It's easy to find brilliant graduates, but hard to find dedicated, loyal employees. The better they are, the greater their tendency to leave," she says. "Some graduates are so good that employers are willing to double their salary - and they just head that way." 

Attapol Pholdee says he'd leave his current job if another employer doubled his salary.

 

"There are so many jobs out there that I don't know which one to pick," says the 24-year-old English tutor. "There are so many good choices. If the offer is better, why not take it?" 

Attapol says he doesn't care about the job title, only financial security.

 

"I'm not from a rich family, so I have to take care of myself. I know that the companies want me to stay after training me for many months. But eventually the benefits [I've generated] belong to the companies."

 

Attapol has held three jobs in three years and says he doesn't have any particular career objective. "I've always applied to companies that I thought I would like working for and excel in.

But you never really know until you get into it," says Attapol who has held his current job for five months.

Kanyanee Yomkert, 25, says recent graduates don't stick with one job because the opportunity for growth is limited.

"Promotions take time and salaries are sometimes only raised by Bt500 in a year when you stay at the same place for too long. I also think that many people don't want to be employees; they want to have their own business," she says.

Kanyanee has changed careers as many as three times in three years and now works as a co-ordinator at Sony Thailand.

She says she doesn't share the fourth attribute of Generation R: Rude. 

Piyamitr of Qualifiles, the recruitment firm, says young graduates tend to overlook seniority and ignore simple courtesies.

"Some job applicants don't show up for interviews and never call to apologise," he says.

During the past month, roughly 40 per cent of applicants who scheduled job interviews with Piyamitr failed to show up and never called back.

"I'm thinking about creating the website blacklist.com for these 'no show, no call' people," he says. 

Job-search engines, the country's most popular way to job hunt, allow people to apply to numerous jobs, then pick and choose which ones they really want. That may have led to a substantial increase in no-shows at interviews.

"It's so easy to apply for jobs via search engines," says Satinee of jobdb.com

"Some graduates apply for 10 posts with just once click. They just keep applying to see if they get a positive response. Sometimes a bachelor's degree holder in law applies for an accounting post, and an accounting graduate applies for a secretarial position." 

More than 40,000 people log on to jobdb.com every day. The biggest volume is weekdays during work hours. Most users stay on between 20 and 30 minutes. And, roughly one-third of the job candidate don't turn up for their interviews.

"Those 'no show, no call' applicants aren't going to get away with it for long. They'll be blacklisted," says Satinee.

Kanyanee, 25, says she once applied to 50 companies at a time via a job-search engine and about 20 of them approached her for interviews. 

"It's like buying a lottery ticket. The more you buy, the better chance you have of winning. I just gave myself lots of opportunities," she says. 

Kanyanee says she sometimes didn't turn up at the interviews.

"I had two appointments in one day. The morning session ran late and I would have been late for the afternoon interview. So, I decided not to go."

If she decides to skip an interview, Kanyanee says she doesn't call the company.

 

"I don't think the employers care. If they think I'm important, they'll give me a call asking why I didn't turn up. And when they do, that's when I feel guilty," she says.

 

"In a rush" describes graduates who are impatient and take opportunities for granted.

Kanyanee, a graduate of Kasetsart University, admits this is true. "The new graduate has a low tolerance level because they have options."

Indeed, it's very rare to find a graduate who has stayed in one place for more than three years, says Massalin Sukpattananarakul, president of the Association of Domestic Travel.

"There are no subjects at universities that can teach them to be patient." 

New graduates want wealth and success - fast, says Nipon, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries.

"They aren't patient. They don't wait. When they want something, they want it now. That's not possible. Everything isn't easy. Life is tough."

Nipon says recent graduates must change their attitudes. 

"If they want to be successful, they must learn to love what they do," he says.

"Sometimes they can't choose their career, but they can choose to love it. And they must work hard, concentrate, be dedicated and never give in or give up."

Rojana Manowalailao

The Nation



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