Are today’s Malaysian youth prepared to take on future leadership roles?

A Youth Perspective survey – involving more than 2,000 Malaysian youths ranging from age 17 to 25 – revealed that the majority of them are not.

In fact, 64.5% said they lack working experience which will negatively affect their career options while 41.2% admitted to having poor interpersonal and communication skills.

These are worrying statistics, especially in view of the increasingly demanding job market which they cannot risk falling behind.

It is difficult to predict how they can increase their employability, especially amongst fresh graduates. One thing for certain is that in order to succeed in today’s job market, they will likely need a portfolio of skills and capabilities to navigate the complexity of the ever changing, real world.

For this very reason, we need to rethink our role in nurturing today’s youth so they remain relevant in a competitive and demanding job market, and how we can provide them with the right platforms and opportunities to take on future leadership roles. 

Nurturing Pipeline Talent

To quote Richard Branson, “a company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product.”

This is exactly why it’s important that we invest in talent development. To emerge as future leaders, young talents require exposure to on-the-job trainings that cut across the different aspects of business through involvement in value-added projects.

These trainings are essential in building a strong foundation in young talents to groom them for future leadership roles. And this element forms the core existence of Nippon Paint Malaysia’s Management Associate Programme (MAP), a home-grown talent development programme that has mentored over 90 fresh graduates since its inception back in 2009.

The MAP is not a walk in the park; participants undergo an intensive three-day leadership workshop where they are trained on their ability to think critically and lead strategically.

Thereon, shortlisted Management Associates (MAs) are recruited and taken on a 12-month professional journey where they will rotate between jobs in all aspects of the business from sales and marketing to operations (production & logistics), research & development, as well as other support functions such as business intelligence, information technology, human resources, procurement and finance. 

Today, we have more than 55 MAs servicing in all departments of the organisation, with 20% of them under the age of 30 and in a managerial position. Between 2014 and 2017, 13 of our MAs have brought in more than US$33 mil of sales and this is an impressive figure, considering that some of these MAs have less than two years of sales experience!

This is certainly a win-win situation. The more successful they become, the more successful your organisation will be.

Career Leaps vs Job Hopping

One of the biggest challenges that employers face today is that on average, young talents quit their job in less than a year or two.

The job hopping ‘trend’ has given much bad press to today’s young talents. But here’s the catch: it’s not so much the money they’re changing their jobs for as it is the opportunity to grow in a more positive and empowering work environment.

The need for quicker growth opportunities and a lack of mentorship are often cited as the main reasons to jump ship. Well-calculated career leaps are imminent.

Regardless of the differences in perspectives and opinions, a common vein remains that over half of fresh graduates believe that their first job is highly important in paving the way to their future careers. 

Apart from building the leaders of tomorrow, Nippon Paint Malaysia’s MAP has also played a key role in developing an individual’s long-term career success where their average work span ranges up to four years.

In a world where most are on the job-hopping bandwagon, we have successfully maintained a high retention rate of 66% over the last decade.

Ultimately, the success of MAP lies within these key success factors: work-life balance, empowerment, exposure to the different business operations, trust, open communication, information sharing, and employee engagement through high-involvement work practices.

Cross-border Experiences

We can all agree that stepping out of our comfort zone is a daunting experience – it has always been a challenge to embrace change without feelings of fear or trepidation. Nonetheless, it is the best way to grow, especially in the workplace where self-development and progress are mandatory for career advancement.

And what better way to do this than through a global staff exchange programme? Data from a PwC study shows that moving employees to other countries – whether temporarily or permanently – is not only good for their personal career growth, but is also a key driver to an organisation’s success. 

Over the years, Nippon Paint Malaysia has provided cross-border opportunities for MAs to gain work experiences in Singapore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and throughout the Asian region to further broaden their horizons – both professionally as well as in their personal capacity.

It is not just an amazing opportunity for a multi-generational and multi-cultural workforce to work alongside and learn from each other in an inclusive environment; they also return with new skills, fresh perspectives, and a wider network!

Invest in Tomorrow’s Talent

We have always placed emphasis on nurturing the youth of tomorrow. In addition to MAP, we have initiated the Asia Young Designer Award, a multi-platform programme that has enriched the learning experience of aspiring students in the field of architecture and interior design over the last 11 years (which has also reached out to 14 other locations across Asia).

By developing and caring for the youth, we have pushed local talents to “Rethink: Recreate” in various aspects of their career development journey as we continue to raise the bar in terms of building innovation and inspirational capacity for the industry as the whole. 

Organisations can only progress if their people evolve and grow, and that’s what talent development is all about. Marcus Buckingham said it best – “Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield.”

A Youth Perspective survey – involving more than 2,000 Malaysian youths ranging from age 17 to 25 – revealed that the majority of them are not.

In fact, 64.5% said they lack working experience which will negatively affect their career options while 41.2% admitted to having poor interpersonal and communication skills.

These are worrying statistics, especially in view of the increasingly demanding job market which they cannot risk falling behind.

It is difficult to predict how they can increase their employability, especially amongst fresh graduates. One thing for certain is that in order to succeed in today’s job market, they will likely need a portfolio of skills and capabilities to navigate the complexity of the ever changing, real world.

For this very reason, we need to rethink our role in nurturing today’s youth so they remain relevant in a competitive and demanding job market, and how we can provide them with the right platforms and opportunities to take on future leadership roles. 

Nurturing Pipeline Talent

To quote Richard Branson, “a company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product.”

This is exactly why it’s important that we invest in talent development. To emerge as future leaders, young talents require exposure to on-the-job trainings that cut across the different aspects of business through involvement in value-added projects.

These trainings are essential in building a strong foundation in young talents to groom them for future leadership roles. And this element forms the core existence of Nippon Paint Malaysia’s Management Associate Programme (MAP), a home-grown talent development programme that has mentored over 90 fresh graduates since its inception back in 2009.

The MAP is not a walk in the park; participants undergo an intensive three-day leadership workshop where they are trained on their ability to think critically and lead strategically.

Thereon, shortlisted Management Associates (MAs) are recruited and taken on a 12-month professional journey where they will rotate between jobs in all aspects of the business from sales and marketing to operations (production & logistics), research & development, as well as other support functions such as business intelligence, information technology, human resources, procurement and finance. 

Today, we have more than 55 MAs servicing in all departments of the organisation, with 20% of them under the age of 30 and in a managerial position. Between 2014 and 2017, 13 of our MAs have brought in more than US$33 mil of sales and this is an impressive figure, considering that some of these MAs have less than two years of sales experience!

This is certainly a win-win situation. The more successful they become, the more successful your organisation will be.

Career Leaps vs Job Hopping

One of the biggest challenges that employers face today is that on average, young talents quit their job in less than a year or two.

The job hopping ‘trend’ has given much bad press to today’s young talents. But here’s the catch: it’s not so much the money they’re changing their jobs for as it is the opportunity to grow in a more positive and empowering work environment.

The need for quicker growth opportunities and a lack of mentorship are often cited as the main reasons to jump ship. Well-calculated career leaps are imminent.

Regardless of the differences in perspectives and opinions, a common vein remains that over half of fresh graduates believe that their first job is highly important in paving the way to their future careers. 

Apart from building the leaders of tomorrow, Nippon Paint Malaysia’s MAP has also played a key role in developing an individual’s long-term career success where their average work span ranges up to four years.

In a world where most are on the job-hopping bandwagon, we have successfully maintained a high retention rate of 66% over the last decade.

Ultimately, the success of MAP lies within these key success factors: work-life balance, empowerment, exposure to the different business operations, trust, open communication, information sharing, and employee engagement through high-involvement work practices.

Cross-border Experiences

We can all agree that stepping out of our comfort zone is a daunting experience – it has always been a challenge to embrace change without feelings of fear or trepidation. Nonetheless, it is the best way to grow, especially in the workplace where self-development and progress are mandatory for career advancement.

And what better way to do this than through a global staff exchange programme? Data from a PwC study shows that moving employees to other countries – whether temporarily or permanently – is not only good for their personal career growth, but is also a key driver to an organisation’s success. 

Over the years, Nippon Paint Malaysia has provided cross-border opportunities for MAs to gain work experiences in Singapore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and throughout the Asian region to further broaden their horizons – both professionally as well as in their personal capacity.

It is not just an amazing opportunity for a multi-generational and multi-cultural workforce to work alongside and learn from each other in an inclusive environment; they also return with new skills, fresh perspectives, and a wider network!

Invest in Tomorrow’s Talent

We have always placed emphasis on nurturing the youth of tomorrow. In addition to MAP, we have initiated the Asia Young Designer Award, a multi-platform programme that has enriched the learning experience of aspiring students in the field of architecture and interior design over the last 11 years (which has also reached out to 14 other locations across Asia).

By developing and caring for the youth, we have pushed local talents to “Rethink: Recreate” in various aspects of their career development journey as we continue to raise the bar in terms of building innovation and inspirational capacity for the industry as the whole. 

Organisations can only progress if their people evolve and grow, and that’s what talent development is all about. Marcus Buckingham said it best – “Talent is the multiplier. The more energy and attention you invest in it, the greater the yield.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Ho is the Assistant General Manager (Group HR & Corporate Affairs) at the Nippon Paint Malaysia Group.

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