Employers Who Understand Gen Z Workforce Needs Stand to Gain Better Employee Retention


Kuala Lumpur, 16 August 2022- To tackle the worrisome job-hopping trend among Gen Z employees and mitigate high recruitment costs, employers need to recognize and adapt to this generation’s workforce needs, which include transparently managing expectations on salary and compensation and ensuring employee personal well-being.

These expectations and the aspirations of Gen Zs in the workplace was the topic of discussion at a virtual forum in June titled “How to Hire, Engage and Retain Gen Z Talent”. The forum was jointly organized by the SME Association of Malaysia and Kabel, an interactive on-demand job matching app that connects hirers to thousands of interns and fresh graduates in Malaysia.

In the forum’s opening speech, National Secretary General of SME Association of Malaysia,  Chin Chee Seong stated that Gen Zs are not solely motivated by money, however, their expectations in the workplace are value-driven and aligned with their personal well-being.

Forum panelist Usha Devi, Managing Consultant of PeopleBiz Consulting, said that one of the biggest struggles for employers is managing the expectations of Gen Z about salary and compensation which should be fairly based on the person’s output, in addition to benchmarking against the industry. Usha also pointed to career progression plans as being vital to show employees how can they grow with the organization.

Personal well-being is a major factor that employers should be cognizant of Forum panelist Raja Edriana Baizura, the Head of Career Services from Taylor’s University, stated that this generation is concerned about work-life balance and prefers flexible working arrangements.

Meanwhile, Azzedine Tarmizi, the Head of Strategic Communications of MYSJ also stressed that beyond money, Gen Z looks for intrinsic rewards once more experience is gained in their fields and seek purposeful work in an organization that aligns with their values. He also emphasized the importance of employers to show care and empathy to employees.

Camelia Loh, the Founder of Kabel, urged organizations to engage with Gen Z consistently to attract and retain good talent to build a sustainable business. Whilst industry needs are essential and indispensable, the requirements of Gen Z need to be included in the feedback loop. Employees who are aligned and passionate about their role will do wonders for retention rates.

A 2021 survey by Employment Hero revealed a staggering 81 percent of Gen Zs plan on switching positions in a year.

Of those who want to leave their company, 36 percent cite lack of career growth as the reason for leaving, while 27 percent said they do not feel appreciated or recognized for what they do. Other reasons cited by the survey include not being given pay raises, promotions, and organizational problems among management, feeling overworked, and lack of flexibility.

SME Association of Malaysia and Kabel will be working on more initiatives for the second half of the year with universities and industry partners, such as designing structured internship programs for students to gain working experiences and organizing interactive career events for young talents to shine.