ANALYZING WORK AND SALARY EXPECTATIONS OF UNEMPLOYED YOUTHS

Youths are a misunderstood generation. Their unique personalities and values have attracted much media interests and research. Unfortunately, much of these coverages tend to aggravate the negative rather than the positive. One of the popular discourses on youths is on their work expectations. Youths, who belong to the millennial generation, have often been stereotyped as demanding, materialistic, narcissistic and unwilling to work hard. These characteristics have been blamed as the root cause for their lack of success in the job market. Employer-based surveys perceived millennial youths in general are too, yet did not have much to offer. These negative portrayals are harmful to their prospects as human capital. The article is written to investigate if there was an alternative view on the subject. Much of the existing knowledge on the topic, at least in the context of Malaysia, has been informed mostly by employers’ perspectives commissioned by professional consultants and recruitment bodies. Also, past research on the topic has covered the general population of the millinnials, rather than a specific group of unemployed youths. While this knowledge has been helpful in shedding light regarding our job applicants, however they are less useful in revealing the other side of the story. Therefore, this article attempts to combine two important aspects - unemployed youths and their stereotypical work expectations as millennials - to determine if their profiles and expectations may explain their unemployment. Findings reported in the article are based on a survey involving 844 unemployed youths located throughout Malaysia. Two specific objectives are pursued in the article: to determine desired work attributes expected by unemployed youths; and to identify their expected salary against selected demographic profiles. The findings suggest that our youths may have been subjected to unfair accusations and stereotypical misconceptions. The results are discussed in relation to relevant theory and practice. Recommendations and areas for future research are provided.

Keywords: youth unemployment, millennials, work attributes, work values, financial expectations.

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