• Tue
  • Sep 30, 2014
  • Updated: 9:40am
NewsHong Kong

Young Chinese more driven than their Western peers

Asia's 'millennials' are keen to work abroad and climb career ladder, international study finds

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 April, 2014, 5:08am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 April, 2014, 8:08am

Lazy, demanding and too idealistic - it's a common conception of "millennials", young people born roughly between 1984 and 1996.

But a new study suggests Chinese millennials are in fact highly ambitious and place greater value on international work experience than their peers in Britain and the United States.

Some 19 per cent of millennials on the mainland expect to be managers within two years of graduating from university.

In India, expectations are even higher, with 37 per cent aiming to be a manager within a year.

Millennials in Asia also value global work experience much more than their Western counterparts, with 65 per cent in India and 47 per cent in mainland China planning to work overseas in the next five years. This compares with 18 per cent in the US and 29 per cent in Britain.

"It's a global world, in which millennials from India and China express a greater interest in participating," said Parveez Modak, Asia practice leader for employee communication and engagement for MSL Group, the public relations company which commissioned the study.

He said that because the modern Chinese and Indian economies were relatively young, most people under 30 were "ultracompetitive", having entered the workplace when their country's economy was starting to take off.

On the mainland, 78 per cent of managers are millennials (aged under 30) or late Generation Y (early 30s) - the highest percentage in the survey. In India, this figure is 75 per cent.

For mainland millennials, North America is their first choice for international experience. Surprisingly, they did not list career progression or money as the key drivers in this decision, but rather "personal development" and to experience a different culture.

American and British millennials placed greater significance on work experience (37 per cent and 25 per cent respectively) than mainland millennials (18 per cent).

While "friend" and "mentor" ranked as the ideal relationship between the boss and themselves, China's millennials preferred a more traditional power structure, with their boss ideally taking the role of "director or allocator of work".

Researchers surveyed almost 1,300 millennials from Brazil, mainland China, France, India, Britain and the US.


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if THAT's not every employee's dream! managers with 0 life and work experience, who just want to boss people arou.. sorry... "allocate" work.
Not to generalize...but Chinese millennials are very hard working and intelligent. Many are adventurous and want to experience foreign culture. My friend Chen Chaoliang who just graduated from the University of Colorado left his home in Yongkang, China to challenge himself, and learn English. Unfortunately this type of attitude and courage are rarely found in the US and the West. Obviously I say that with self interest, I founded briclanguage.com an online language school. I also say it as someone who has travelled, learned Mandarin, and grown because of that experience. I wish more young Americans would travel abroad. It is an incredibly rewarding experience and one that can put you years ahead of your peers in terms of career paths.
there is a huge difference between HK young people and Mainland young people. What I saw in Mainland was that they would learn the most fundamental parts of recording data learning to be test engineers, then they believed that what they learned was 100% when they only had 5% of what it took to be independently useful. Difficult to manage anyone with attitude like that, but the most responsible positions would always go to the children of the cadres while the brightest and the best left for MNC's after their 2 yr contracts were up. No future at SOEs for non connected people. Over time, there becomes a concentration of the laziest and dumbest people who stayed. But, with the 1 child policy, paying back debt meant people had to promote the only child of the cadre, smart or not.
"Expect to be managers within 2 years of graduation". I think that the title should say young Chinese children of cadres feel more entitled than their Western counterparts. Not sure where the driven part comes from. I would not expect anyone should expect to be promoted to a management role at large companies like General Electric or Google with just two years at work. An investment bank because your parents have guanxi, or at a Chinese SOE, sure because that has nothing to do with merit. McD franchise, sure, but that is not what Wang Xin was going to school for.
where's the work-life balance?
I think I would be unlikely to invest in a company that allows people to be taking managerial positions after only 2 years experience out of university. Unfortunately, too few people understand what it really means to manage other employees in a meaningful and positive way, and too often managing means passing the scut work off onto the junior guy.
Managers mean a different thing in Mainland then...
More driven I agree...but that's like hearing a kid say he's ready for front office trading now after 6 months in the back office because he has learnt everything about banking.
i don't think so


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