According to a new study by, more than a third of young Malaysian talent end up quitting their first jobs in less than a year, citing the need for quicker growth opportunities and a desire for more money as the main reasons to jump ship.

However, this is despite 58% of fresh graduates believing their first ever job is highly important to pave the way for their future careers.

In the study, 74% cite professional growth, as the leading reason young Malaysians left their role - followed by money (43%), and after, more than a third (38%) realising they needed to change the direction of their careers early on.

Monster time line

Surveying over 700 fresh graduates and employers in Malaysia to uncover insights, challenges and expectations around the recruitment process for young local talent, the survey discovered numerous mismatches between talent and employer expectations when it comes to the graduate job seeker experience, as well as important insights into what local employers are looking for on CVs, and the biggest mistakes young talent make during job interviews.

When it comes to challenges on the job, the majority of fresh graduates said their lack of industry knowledge and experience affected their confidence in the role. While this might be expected for inexperienced young professionals, a worrying 24% said they also struggled with a lack of mentorship, while 22% said they faced challenges with their boss.

Additionally, 21% said they felt they should have been better compensated, while 20% added they probably were “not fully prepared for work life”.

While these results indicate a lack of leadership support to help young talent transition into their first jobs, 80% of employers said they believe they provide sufficient support to help fresh graduates succeed.

On that note, Sanjay​ ​Modi,​ ​managing​ director​ ​at​ ​​ ​(APAC​ ​and​ ​Middle​ ​East), said: “This shows a worrying mismatch between the biggest challenges young talent say they face in their starting jobs, and local employers’ belief that they are providing adequate support for young talent to flourish. This should obviously be a concern for employers looking to attract, hire and retain young talent in the long-term.”

“However, there is also a realisation that young talent perhaps expect too much too soon. While salary will always be important for young talent, employers need to work harder to manage expectations around promotions within the first 12 months. This is a time where young talent need to prove themselves, work hard, and hit their targets as per their job description. Before achieving these goals, fresh graduates should not expect to be handed promotions and additional responsibilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, its Singaporean counterparts seem to show similar tendencies with 30% of fresh graduates citing to leave their first job after less than year - mainly due to a lack of professional development (67%) and a desire to earn more money (42%). However, this is  despite it taking 47% of them up to three months to get hired in the first place.

Monster reasons why

Across the region, 80% of employers believe their company provides sufficient support for fresh graduates to excel and grow – even though 37% admit most fresh graduates stay with them for no longer than two years.

However, young talent said some of their biggest challenges in their first jobs were around a lack of leadership and support transitioning into working life. While the majority said their biggest challenge was a lack of industry knowledge (61%), a lack of mentorship (34%) also played a big role in their decision to leave. Twenty-seven per cent said they didn’t think they “were fully prepared for work life”, while 25% struggled with long work hours, and 23% said they lacked enough feedback and support from direct managers to succeed.

Sanjay commented: “There are two interesting aspects to consider here. Clearly young talent expect to move quickly in their first jobs – they want promotions and pay rises, and they crave the leadership and support necessary to get there. While this could be a call for employers to take note and act quickly to retain young high potential talent, it’s also a wake up call to fresh graduates to give themselves time to fully grow into a role and figure out where their strengths lie.”

“The majority of employers are in agreement that young local talent have unrealistic expectations when it comes to salaries and pace of growth, but many might be failing to realise just how big a consideration money is. To overcome this, a strong onboarding process is needed to manage expectations, as well as a structure around training, learning and development to ensure young talent feel they are being invested in, and that they are considered an important part of the company’s future,” he added.

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