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Young employees happy and more likely to stick to jobs, study shows

By Peter Theuri | November 28th 2021
By Peter Theuri | November 28th 2021

The report shows that only 37 per cent of workers aged between 36 and 45 are happy with their employers. [Courtesy]

Against the tradition and previous perceptions, older employees are now more likely to leave their employers in search of greener pastures.

According to a new report by BrighterMonday, about 58 per cent of workers aged between 36 and 45 are more likely to leave their employer than younger employees.

The report titled BrighterMonday Kenya Employee Satisfaction Report 2021, had 1,760 respondents surveyed.

While the Covid pandemic has changed peoples' relationship with work and workplaces, the report shows younger employees are becoming more attached to their workplaces, and are enjoying it.

“The youngest respondents are the happiest and least willing to leave their current employer while the oldest respondents pose the highest flight risk, which could be driven by a search for better career opportunities, or a more challenging working environment with cross-functional collaboration,” said Brighter Monday.

More than 53 per cent of employees aged between 18 and 24 said they were happy with their employer according to the report - higher than any other age group in the survey.

Ditch employer

Only 41 per cent in the group of between 25 and 35 years was happy, with a whopping 56 per cent willing to ditch their current employer.

The report shows that only 37 per cent of workers aged between 36 and 45 are happy with their employers.

Over 58 per cent of them would flee at the earliest opportunity, which makes for scary reading.

This is because this is the group is seen as the ideal age of employees, as they have gained experience and are settled with families.

They can also be trusted with more duties that require technical know-how as compared to their younger counterparts, who lack the expertise, or the older ones who might not have the same energy.

Monicah Karanja, head of Human Resource and Administration at Octagon Africa, does not, however, entirely concur with the report's findings, arguing that younger employees dart from one job to another as they seek thrills.

They also do not have responsibilities that would prevent them from regular movement between jobs.

“A lot of these young people have little to lose. When you consider someone just above 18, that is most likely someone who has just completed their secondary school education, or who has taken a diploma course,” she says.

“These are employees who are getting started and nothing prevents them from desiring to move and try out new things.”

Many of them are still under the care of their parents and do not yet have responsibilities that could trouble them.

As such, they may be forgiven for making reckless decisions where a lot of the older people may not get away with similar decisions.

Karanja also disagrees that employees aged between 18 and 24, “are happy with their current employer.”

“They are here to make their money and are unlikely to have even settled on the job they would like to hold onto the future,” Karanja says.

Karanja says the age group of between 25 and 35 years is the one employers are keen on.

These, he notes, are young people who have graduated and have had a year or two of experience. They are young, energetic and with responsibilities starting to land, will most likely take their jobs seriously.

“You will realise that at this age, they have children and have generally started making crucial decisions that will anchor the rest of their lives. At this stage, work makes more sense to them,” she says.

Good reason

They are also not likely to leave their jobs without good reason - knowing the difficulty they might have faced in getting their first job, which makes them fear they might not immediately secure another.

They also have a purpose. The money they make is not all directed to fun activities. Their goals are now clearer.

But it is the age group between 36 and 45 that is most attractive to employers, according to Karanja.

This is made up of employees who have the relevant experience, have children in school and thus clearer purpose, and are thinking about career progression.

“They are serious people, are mature and are settled, with the responsibilities outside the workplace making them better employees,” says Karanja.

They are now thinking about pensions, or are paying their mortgages, and seek job security more than anything.

Some of them are in managerial positions and have already tasted the thrill that might have seen them move about earlier in their career.

They are thus settled and unlikely to move as much as their younger counterparts.

The BrighterMonday report stated that 53 per cent of those above the age of 45 are likely to leave their employers.

Karanja says that this group, which is of employees approaching retirement, is also a stable one in the workplace.

They might not, however, stick in the workplace as much as those younger than them.

The pandemic has also changed, in a great way, how people view employment.

Public sectors

The Economic Survey 2021 indicated that the economy lost 737,500 jobs in the private and public sectors even as Covid-19 disruptions saw many businesses shut their doors.

It is unlikely that those affected would be willing to keep moving between jobs.

Working from home, which opened many employees’ eyes to picking gigs and making easy money, might also have impacted people’s perceptions of work and the workplace.

Aadam Patel, 22, was quoted by The Guardian saying since the lockdown ended, it had been different and he had realised he had to go for a job he loved, which gave him the freedom and experience he needed, as fast as he could.

“I’ve kind of exploded. It feels incredible to be able to get out there again and apply for the jobs I want. I’ve learnt that there’s no point in wasting time; I’ve got to do what I want to do, and do it now,” he said.

Age aside, it is more likely that more and more employees will be looking to stick to their current jobs, the traumas of those that lost their jobs and sunk into desperation affecting even those that didn’t.

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