Here Are Some Surprising Insights About Singaporean Millennials
Type “Millennials are…” into Google search, and you’ll bring up a host of popular stereotypes of the generation that everybody loves to hate. Millennials have been labelled lazy, entitled napkin-killers who are constantly tethered to their mobile devices; and more recently, as the oldest millennials reach their 37th year in 2018, they’ve even lost the satisfaction of being able to call themselves young.
Millennials, who are largely categorized as those born between 1981 and 1996, have certainly received a lot of attention.
Much of the focus has been on millennials in America, however. What about those who reside in our own little red dot? Here’s how Singaporean millennials compare to their counterparts around the world:
How do Singaporean millennials compare against other countries at work?
When it comes to work, do stereotypes about lazy, slacker millennials hold up?
Not in Singapore, at least: according to a 2016 survey of 19,000 millennials across 25 countries, 87% of Singaporean millennials work full-time jobs, compared to the global average of 73%.
Singaporean millennials also seem to be putting in a bit more time at work than their peers, coming up near the top for most hours worked per week.
28% of the Singaporean millennials surveyed work over 50 hours a week, and 22% are even working two or more paid jobs.
On the other hand, while young Singaporeans show a willingness to work long hours, most (87%) also anticipate taking breaks longer than four weeks during the course of their careers. In Singapore and other regions, the most common reason for taking a break for women was the birth of children and childcare, while men most likely anticipated taking a break for “relaxation, travel or vacations”.
However, a significantly higher percentage of Singaporean millennial men (40%) foresaw that caring for parents or aging parents would require them to take time out of their careers, compared to the global average (25%).
How enterprising are Singaporean millennials?
According to a GoDaddy survey, about three quarters of Singaporean millennial respondents intend to create their own business or be self-employed within the next ten years, far exceeding the global average of 50%. Almost a third of those surveyed even said that they started their current business while they were still studying, making them 16 times more likely to pursue entrepreneurship than Gen X students were.
Similarly, ManpowerGroup found that Singaporean millennials are much more open to less conventional employment opportunities compared to millennials of other countries. When asked how they would consider working in the future, Singaporeans scored higher for each category of non-traditional employment compared to the global average.
On the other hand, fewer Singaporeans (65%) would consider working full time jobs in the future, while 71% of millennials globally would do so.
Despite seemingly high entrepreneurial ambitions, 30% of the top-earning millennials surveyed by UBS saw themselves as less entrepreneurial than their parents.
How are Singaporean millennials approaching retirement?
Standard Chartered’s 2017 study on emerging affluent consumers across eight countries, including Singapore, found that millennials do not prioritise saving for retirement.
Yet, many Singaporean millennials want to retire early, and generally expect to do so earlier compared to the global average. A significant number (33%) of millennials globally expect to retire between the ages of 65 and 69, but only 17% of Singaporeans intend to do so.
However, a slightly higher proportion of Singaporeans (14%) expect to work until they die compared to the global average (12%). Nevertheless, Singaporean millennials can’t beat their Japanese counterparts, of which a whopping 37% expect to work until they die.
How are Singaporean millennials approaching homeownership?
Stringent government controls on who can buy a HDB flat means that millennial homeownership can be tough, especially if you’re single and under 35. Yet, young Singaporeans show a strong desire to own their own homes. Among emerging affluent Singaporean millennials, buying a home represents the top savings priority.
In fact, 54% of Singaporean millennials surveyed by HSBC already own a home, and 24% of these property owners even own multiple homes. Millennials seem to be more aggressive than other generations when it comes to property acquisition, as this 24% is higher than the figures for Baby Boomers (17%) and Generation X-ers (19%).
Globally, Singaporean millennials also generally have a higher rate of homeownership.
Despite relatively high rates of homeownership, many Singaporean millennials still live with their parents.
How do Singaporean millennials define ‘wealth’?
Singaporeans may get a bad rap for being materialistic, but the most important form of wealth for Singaporean millennials isn’t material abundance – it’s having an experience-rich life.
According to UBS’ global survey of affluent millennials, Singaporeans considered “exciting experiences” the most important form of wealth. In the same survey, this answer resonated with millennials from all other countries, with the exception of Russia (who valued “legacy for family” as the most important form of wealth) and the United Arab Emirates (who valued “philanthropy”).
On the downside…
While Singaporean millennials seem to be ambitious go-getters, the pressure to achieve success may have its downsides.
Four out of five young professionals in Singapore have experienced a quarter-life crisis, according to a LinkedIn survey. Among the 16 regions surveyed, Singapore places fourth for the highest prevalence of quarter-life crises.
The survey revealed that the greatest concern faced by young Singaporean professionals was finding a job that they are passionate about, followed by comparing themselves with friends they deem more successful than they are.
Are you a Singaporean millennial? Do you agree with these numbers? Let us know in the comments!