Gen Y in the Workplace: An ASEAN Perspective

*Available in digital version only
31 May 2018
34-page report

The workforces of many organisations in ASEAN have a large percentage of Gen Y professionals today. One of the common stereotypes is that, compared to older generations, Gen Y individuals’ sense of entitlement makes them less dedicated and committed to work, and their expectations are more difficult to meet. Another key concern raised is about a lack of communication and understanding between the different generations due to differing values and goals at work. In a region marked by talent shortages, and as economies move towards becoming increasingly knowledge-based, a clear understanding of these concerns will allow employers to engage more effectively with Gen Y employees. 

To what extent are these concerns valid for Gen Y professionals across the financial services industry (FSI) in the ASEAN region? The Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) conducted a series of surveys to explore Gen Y in the workplace, focusing on the financial sector in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The study presents one of the most comprehensive surveys of Gen Y with a total of 1,913 responses from both Gen Y professionals and their managers covering conventional banking, Islamic finance, insurance and capital markets. The findings of this research were compared against similar data collated by Ashridge Business School in the UK, Middle East and India.

The survey results suggest a far more positive profile of Gen Y professionals in the FSI across the region than is often portrayed. Yet, the challenge of managing different age groups and particularly of managing younger employees has appeared across all countries surveyed. Managers need to approach this cautiously and be aware that at times intergenerational differences could be due to softer aspects about working styles and not hard-core skills, attitudes or commitment to work. This could be crucial given the unprecedented challenges that the financial services industry is facing including the competition for talent and the emergence of new business models.