I am in expert panels and think tanks (honorary) of few companies, Govt bodies and startups for past one decade. The most common complaints from corporates that I keep hearing is about the job attrition rate among India’s Millennials and gen Z (collectively denoted as “young workforce”). The companies (and their HR) are coming up with desperate innovative strategies to keep their young workforce “happy” and “loyal”. One e-commerce giant in Bangalore throws party every Friday at their classy glass-cased office space which converts into a mini dance floor (with live DJ, beers, breezers, snacks and surreal lights)! Others are throwing parties in every possible occasions (right from birthdays to break-up celebration). Some brands started giving stakes / shares to their employees. Some even invented new ways to ‘hold’ by inviting parents at office the to celebrate ‘mothers/ fathers day” (with top boss appearing as ‘lord Pluto” to bless all)! The huge steel building of an IT park in Chennai celebrates annual “family day” and I see the proud parents walking up to the ‘magnificent office” to attend this village fair like get together (with games, rides, parent of the year award, locally flavoured high emotion cultural performances and what not). I am sure, these parents (and other siblings) will create a good amount of emotional stress to ensure that the young employee remains in the company . “see how safe, beautiful and respectful is this company.. . and you want to shift to that new start-up just because of few thousand rupee?” will be the stand of these parents, that the HR presumes.
As published in Mint, according to the extensive “State Of The Global Workplace" report (2017), mere 13% of Indians (whether employed in the organized sector or otherwise) who feel engaged with their jobs. The report quoted that the Millennials need to be appreciated, encouraged, given enough opportunities and training for their career growth to be kept engaged other than a good salary and professional growth opportunities. The Millennials also look for inspirational leaders. Even the workspace design makes a difference, according to the “Global Employee Engagement Report", released in 2017 by research firm Ipsos and office furniture company Steelcase.
In an article in Forbes, points out the Mercer survey highlights that no fewer than 54% of Indian workers are seriously considering leaving their jobs, and that figure spikes to 66% in the 16-24 year age bracket. It also points out the other independent studies “confirm the correlation between intention to leave and actual turnover.” What’s puzzling is that the people considering leaving are not even highly disengaged employees! 76% of Indians surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs and 75% with their organizations.
Average Voluntary attrition (2016-17) stats show the highest attrition was reported by the retail sector in India, with e-commerce being on the higher side with the average voluntary annual attrition of 20.4%, followed by media and advertising (18.5%) and banking and financial services (17.4%). According to KPMG Annual Compensation Trends Survey India 2017, top 3 reasons reported for attrition are: 1) Better Pay Elsewhere (28.1%), 2) Better Career Opportunity (23.4%), 3) Personal Reasons (19.6%).
However, a report published on 26th of June 2019 at Livemint quoted Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, both these cohorts (Millennials and gen Z) admit that freelance work appeals to them more than full-time jobs! Eighty-four per cent of millennials and 81% of Gen Z’ers surveyed said they would consider joining the gig economy. However, for India, this figure is higher as 94% millennials and Gen Z say they would consider joining the gig economy. Overall, the gig economy appeals to four in five millennials and Gen Z’ers, the report said. Only 6% of the millennials said they have chosen to be part of the gig economy instead of working full time but 50% said they would consider it, and 61% would take gig assignments to supplement existing employment. Those who said they would consider joining the gig economy enumerate several reasons for doing so—a chance to earn more money (58%), flexible work hours (41%), or a better work-life balance (37%). However, those who said they won’t join the gig economy counted unpredictable income and hours as the reasons (39% and 30%, respectively). According to the survey, almost half the millennials believe gig workers can earn as much as those in full-time jobs, and the same number think gig workers have a better work-life balance. But 51% said the unpredictability would be stressful. To cater to millennials, more firms are now offering flexible working arrangements and other features designed to mimic what appeals to those considering a gig existence. Though, in India, young men are taking more leverage of gig economy than the young female. As per a Flexing It survey, 70% of freelancers were from core management functions. It added that the supporting eco-system is flourishing with growth of freelance platforms, new regulations for freelancers and adoption across organizations. The white paper said that the gig economy in India has the potential to grow up to $ 20-30 billion by 2025.
According to the Deloitte survey, of the millennials it surveyed, 49% said that if they had a choice, they would quit their job in two years. This is higher than the 38% in Deloitte’s 2017 report.
Gig economy (also known as "flex economy" or "mobile economy”) reflects the cultural change brought by a new generation of workers, especially millennials. Though there is no accurate estimate of their numbers, it is projected that gig workers will comprise half the workforce by 2020, and as much as 80 percent by 2030. Gig economy is a temporary work system based on a short-term relationship between workers and companies. Workers perform “gigs,” in which they are employed for a specific task or time. This is done to achieve advantage of cost, quality, and flexibility. Once the task is complete, the worker is free to move on. A McKinsey report says, 20-30 percent of the developed countries’ workforce is today engaged in independent work.
As India becomes younger further, the “gig” workers as freelancers (with their ever decreasing loyalty towards a company and attention span) will increase in multi-fold and basic HR rules with their measuring “attrition rates” will work no more. Rather, the company must think of developing a micro-recruitment plan and break the large job sets into smaller deliverables. The responsibilities should be given to the youth on the basis of “capacity to deliver” rather than trying to keep them bound to the company.