Is The Boomer Mentality Clouding Our Judgement Of Young Jobseekers?

By Adrielle Chua   •   3 min read

On August 29, an SME employer, Delane Lim, wrote a viral post about 7 young jobseekers he recently rejected. His conclusion of “young talents are not hungry for a job” divided the internet into two. 


Image of Delane Lim's Facebook Post


You have employers who were grateful for Delane speaking up about this as they had a similar experience. Among those that sided with him, some labelled young jobseekers as “entitled”.

On the other hand, many others disagreed with Delane. They believed the questions asked were reasonable and demonstrated a high amount of consideration for the prospective job. 

An interesting thing to note was the majority of those who agreed with Dalane were mid to senior-level managers. This suggests that their attitude is a reflection of a mindset that is prevalent in Singapore today the Boomer Mentality.

The Boomer Mentality

An article by Rice Media shares how the older generations believe that ‘hard work’ is the number of work hours clocked instead of efficiency and productivity.

They grew up with the mentality that they should make personal sacrifices and always take the safest route. In their era where poverty and suffering were common, survival meant doing anything to put food on the table. This includes humbling themselves and taking on any conditions to get the job.

So when a younger jobseeker comes along with conditions like a personal assistant, transport allowance or shortening of the termination notice, they will be viewed as “adult babies”. The generation where they are “not hungry for a job”, “not willing to be humble” or “not willing to suffer”.

Times have changed

In today’s workplace, the mentality of hard work being measured through the hours clocked is long gone. Many people work hard, but only a few become successful. It is no longer sufficient to just work hard, but also to work smart. 

Working smart should not be thought of as the polar opposite of working hard – that is nothing close to the truth. The two are not mutually exclusive.

In fact, it is precisely because they value productivity and efficiency that they can think of new and more innovative ways to do things that reduce the time investment required. This in turn leaves room for other things they value, which elevates their quality of life — personal relationships, health, personal passions, and more. 

Reconsidering the young jobseekers

As the old retires and the new comes in, it’s estimated by CNBC that 58% of the workforce will be young jobseekers. Technologically-driven young jobseekers have future-ready skills to offer, as the workforce moves towards digital transformation. They are the next trendsetters who are reshaping how a company should function. 

Yet the Boomer Mentality might dismiss this generation, and shortchange us of the value they can bring to the table. Don’t be too quick to brush them off as “entitled”. 

Some trends are here to stay. If you can’t fight it, join it. 

Perhaps re-look at how your organisation can turn this into an opportunity. Consider how your organisation can build a competitive advantage in attracting quality young talent, by changing how you view young jobseekers and your company’s approach to hiring them.

It takes two hands to clap

It is undeniable that some young jobseekers may have unreasonable demands or expectations. Perhaps these may have been born out of the environment they were brought up in, what their education has set them up for, or just a result of a new generation’s aspirations. Helping them adjust and better manage their expectations is also important. 

Both sides of the market will have to adapt and adjust, to bridge the gap between Boomers and Zoomers.

Adrielle Chua

TalentTribe Writer

When she isn't on her laptop, you can find Adrielle Chua on the hunt for 'the next great bake thing'.

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