They expect quick professional development and the chance to earn higher salaries within the first year, or they will move on.
At the same time, they admitted to a lack of industry knowledge and not being prepared for working life and long hours.
For the study, online recruitment site Monster.com surveyed 2,368 job seekers and employers from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
More than 500 responses were from Singapore, with the findings sharing similar trends in all three countries.
Close to half of Singapore graduates – 47 per cent – took up to three months to land their first job, but 30 per cent of them quit after less than a year.
Their main reasons: seeking professional growth (67 per cent), more money (42 per cent), career change (30 per cent) and better challenges (21 per cent).
As for job difficulties, they cited lack of industry knowledge (61 per cent), mentorship (34 per cent) and feedback and support (23 per cent). About a quarter were not fully prepared for working life or the long hours.
Eighty per cent of employers in the three countries, however, believe they provide adequate support for young talent to grow, though 37 per cent said most graduates do not stay for more than two years.
Monster.com’s managing director (APAC and Middle East), Mr Sanjay Modi, said the findings show obvious disconnects between employer and employee expectations, notably on the issue of mentorship.
“Evidently, young talent expect to move quickly in their first jobs… and they crave the mentorship and support necessary to get there,” Mr Modi told The New Paper.
But fresh graduates, he added, must give themselves time to fully grow into a role and figure out where their strengths lie.
As for employers, Mr Modi said that most felt that young talent have unrealistic expectations about salaries.
But many might not realise just how big a consideration money is, hence the need to manage expectations and ensure young talent feel they are being invested in.
“This mismatch is a cause of concern and a wake-up call for both employers and fresh grads to take concrete steps and hit the right balance between their expectations and needs.”
A 24-year-old programme executive who wanted to be known as Ariel said she left her first job after two years because she felt she was stagnating.
But she has friends who took more than three months to get a job and ended up accepting whatever they were offered.
“If they take up something they don’t like, they are likely to quit in less than a year,” she said.
A research assistant, who wanted to be known as Mr Wong, 27, said he quit his job in a hospital after nine months because of poor mentorship.
He said his boss gave him little guidance and “being my first job, I didn’t know what to do”.
The survey also touched on job interviews, with employers valuing an applicant’s relevant experience most (68 per cent), followed by qualifications and education (58 per cent), and a well-written resume (45 per cent).
Sixty per cent of Singapore graduates said not asking questions was their biggest regret, following by lack of research on the company (51 per cent). Only 10 per cent felt focusing too much on salary was a mistake.
Mr Alvin Ang, director of talent acquisition at Quantum Leap Career Consultancy, said the reason many job seekers fail to get the job was due to complacency because they have other interviews lined up.
Mr Ang, who has been in the industry for 10 years, said: “If you go for an interview, do your best to secure the offer. Other negotiations such as salary can come later.”
Mr Modi’s advice: Prepare properly and know the job you are interviewing for so you can make a solid first impression. And do not be late for the interview.
This article was first published by the Straits Times