YOUTH PERSPECTIVES, A NATIONWIDE SURVEY OF MORE THAN 2,000 RESPONDENTS BY PERSPECTIVE STRATEGIES REVEALS THAT:
- 62.3% agreed that parents influence their career decisions
- 77.0% would consult their families before making a purchase decision
- Only 9.2% “trust” or “very trust” information published on social media
Results of a nationwide survey involving more than 2,000 undergraduates and Form 6 students released today have debunked some common perceptions of Malaysian youth. This group of young Malaysians who will be entering the workforce over the next 12 to 24 months, is still family-oriented when it comes to making career and purchasing decisions as well as possessing the ability to question the validity of the sources of information.
Such attributes bode well for these future job seekers but employers and businesses must be prepared to adapt to accommodate and get the most out of them.
“The study, Youth Perspectives, certainly unveiled interesting findings of the perspectives of young Malaysians, who will shape the way organisations attract, engage and retain their young talent and consumers,” said Andy See, Managing Director of Perspective Strategies, the stakeholder engagement consultancy which undertook the research project in partnership with AIA Berhad, Nippon Paint Malaysia Group, Centre for Strategic Engagement (CENSE) and AIESEC in Malaysia.
“The study shows us that modern-day parents are playing an increasingly profound role in their children’s career options as well as purchasing habits. While sceptics may baulk at them for being overly dependent on their parents, some global firms have begun embracing this cultural change by involving parents in the process of engaging our youth.
“Such is the trend that Human Resources (HR) professionals shouldn’t be surprised to find parents accompanying their children to job interviews! Our experience certainly confirms the increasing involvement of parents in such situations,” said See.
Youth Perspectives involved a survey (online and printed questionnaire) of 2,021 young Malaysians from public and private universities as well as Form 6 students. A total of 11 focus group discussions were also conducted to gather qualitative information.
Carried out between January and March 2015, Youth Perspectives focused on three areas namely young Malaysians’ media consumption habits, purchasing behaviour and their assessment of their talent and career opportunities.
FACT 1: FAMILIES AND FRIENDS MATTER MOST!
Word-of-mouth from families and friends is the key influence on young Malaysians. The majority viewed their families and friends as the reliable source of information and consultation when making major life decisions such as their finances and careers. As many as 80.6% would seek their friends review and 77.0% would consult their families when making a purchase decision.
On top of that, about 66.8% of them would prefer turning to their families and friends for job referrals. Interestingly, while this generation is “hooked on” social media, only 35.4% would consider using this channel to find a job.
“When it comes to influencing young Malaysians, nothing beats word-of-mouth. They trust their families and friends above all forms of marketing channels. However, it is important to note that word-of-mouth in today’s context also means virtual conversations or instant messages,” See explained.
FACT 2: DISCERNING AND SCEPTICAL
As expected, young Malaysians are constantly connected with more than half of them (53.5%) spending at least five hours a day online. However, they see the Internet as no more than a platform or channel to connect with friends via social media and to be updated on news.
Despite the fact that they are “always-connected”, many are sceptical of the information published on social media. Only 9.2% of the respondents “trust” or “very trust” the information published on social media compared to 72.8% for parents and relatives.
See explained that discussions in focus groups also revealed that young Malaysians will verify their information against other sources, utilising multiple platforms such as websites, newspapers, magazines and even word-of-mouth. Hence, organisations need to communicate a consistent brand value and behaviour across all platforms to be trusted by this new generation of consumers.
“Organisations would need to start engaging youth beyond traditional and digital platforms in order to create meaningful relationships with them. Organisations must be genuine and sustain their communications and engagements. Otherwise, the initiatives are seen as no more than just publicity stunts,” he added.
FACT 3: ILL-EQUIPPED FOR THE WORKFORCE?
The “soon-to-be graduates” also identified poor language and interpersonal skills as their weaknesses that will limit their career opportunities and progression. About 41.2% of young Malaysians placed soft skills as the challenge that may prevent them from securing their ideal career.
Young Malaysians acknowledged that their poor language skills will be a major hindrance to their careers. More than half (51.0%) of young Malays did not feel confident of their grasp of the English language, compared to Chinese (37.0%) and Indians (16.0%). Interestingly, 38.0% of Malays and 39.0% of Indians felt that their inability to communicate in Chinese may stifle their career progression.
A large percentage of young Malaysians (70.4%) have also expressed their desire to work in another country, signalling the continuing brain drain debate in Malaysia. Some of the reasons cited for their desire to move overseas include: Political and social reasons (45.2%), specialised field of career (particularly for science and engineering) are only available overseas (43.6%) and perceived poorer career prospects (42.1%) in Malaysia.
“While their desire to relocate to another country may be strong, focus group discussions also revealed that in the longer term, young Malaysians intend to return to Malaysia. After all, the heart belongs to where their home really is,” said See.
The Youth Perspectives report identified talent development as an important area that organisations must look into when developing engagement opportunities while enhancing its reputation with young Malaysians. Similarly, today’s consumers also expect their brands to invest in nurturing meaningful relationships with them.
“In the current context, the expectation on organisations to deliver on its commitment to stakeholders is very high. This is because today’s stakeholders can quickly lose interest or express their frustration in a very open and immediate manner especially via online platforms,” concluded See.
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Click on the following link to read the full report: Youth Perspectives Report
Our Managing Director, Andy See and Executive Director, Tan May Lee, spoke to The Star on what’s next for Perspective Strategies. Boutique public relations (PR) agency Perspective Strategies Sdn Bhd wants its clients to become its long-term partners and will focus on few key growth areas that will help achieve its clients’ goals.
Managing director Andy See Teong Leng says the agency wants to engage closely with its clients to build a strong partnership with them as media relations alone in not workable in today’s competitive world.
He says the agency does not want to be a mere service provider by just helping clients to communicate but instead help clients to also attain their business goals.
The growth areas of focus for Perspective Strategies in its bid to carve a stronger foothold in the communications business include strong emphasis on financial communications, stakeholder engagement and internal communications.
Stressing on financial communications, the agency’s executive director Tan May Lee adds that it is important for a company to communicate the relevant information more effectively, especially so for listed entities.
“As partners to our clients, we work with companies to communicate their future directions, prospects and other relevant information that will help them reach their target audience and achieve their business goals,” she tells StarBizWeek in an interview.
According to See, stakeholder engagement and internal communications are the two growth areas for the agency, both of which are expected to be the “game changers” of the PR industry.
By engaging clients and understanding their business needs, he says the agency will be able develop more strategic communications programmes that will build meaningful relationships between brands and their stakeholders.
Towards this end, he notes Perspective Strategies will deploy various communication channels, be it face-to-face, digital, social media and others to see which one suits best for its clients.
Close engagements with clients to develop communication programmes has helped the agency bag the coveted gold award for the second consecutive year − 2012 and 2013 − for the best campaign at the Malaysia PR Awards (MPRA).
The latest one was the campaign for Durex Malaysia (2013). Its internal communication work for AmBankGroup in the wake of the merger with MBF Cards also grabbed the highest honour in the previous year.
Commenting on the Durex Malaysia campaign, See says the objective of the campaign was to educate the youths of the dangers of sexually transmitted infections caused by unsafe sex. It also serves as a platform to showcase Perspective Strategies capability and diverse skills.
“We need these skills as the reality is stakeholders today demand meaningful engagements with companies and brands. This means, straightforward media relations campaign alone may not work effectively today. It demands that brands and companies work with stakeholders directly.
In the case of the Durex campaign, it was all about engaging youth on a peer-to-peer mode,” he adds.
Given Malaysia’s largely conservative sentiments when it comes to sex education, he says, the agency conceptualised the campaign using the peer-to-peer education as a strategy to break down communication barriers and engage youths on this important yet difficult subject.
The effort yielded tremendous results. Since August 2013, Durex and its group of peer educators have reached out to more than 30,000 students nationwide and this figure is expected to further rise, See notes.
Speaking on the industry challenges, Tan says, “Talent remains an ongoing challenge for most agencies, especially so for our industry which is sometimes misunderstood and rarely fully understood.
“However, with the broadening scope of communications, we are looking outside the traditional talent pool and actively seek multi-discipline talents who are able to deeply understand clients’ businesses and provide strategic counsel. Essentially, the end result of all communications is about achieving business goals.”
This article was originally published in The Star on 27 September 2014.
Home-Grown PR Firm Recognised for its Youth Engagement Campaign.
Local Public Relations consultancy, Perspective Strategies, won the industry’s most coveted Gold Award for the Best Campaign of the Year at the recent Malaysia PR Awards (MPRA) for Durex Malaysia’s #SOMEBODYLIKEME Choose2Protect campaign.
The winning campaign is an ongoing peer-led outreach programme initiated for Durex Malaysia, in partnership with AIESEC in Malaysia, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations, Malaysia (FRHAM) to educate Malaysian youths on sexual and reproductive health with a focus on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The winning team led by Perspective Strategies Managing Director, Andy See Teong Leng (sixth from the left).
This is the second year in a row that Perspective Strategies had won the industry’s top award. Its internal communication work for AmBank Group in the wake of the merger with MBF Cards grabbed the highest honour in the previous year’s event organised by the Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Malaysia (PRCA Malaysia).
Andy See, Managing Director of Perspective Strategies said, “We are proud and honoured to once again win the Gold Award for the Best Campaign of the Year. The win demonstrates the firm’s strategic capability as well as the spread of communication talents that we have which enable us to push for strategies and campaigns to have meaningful engagements with stakeholders.”
“The Durex #SOMEBODYLIKEME Choose2Protect campaign, with its multiple stakeholders and diverse interests, is an excellent example for Perspective Strategies to showcase our capability and diverse skills.”
“We need these skills as the reality is stakeholders today demand meaningful engagements with companies and brands. This means, straightforward media relations campaign may not work effectively today – it demands that brands and companies work with stakeholders directly. In the case of the Durex #SOMEBODYLIKEME Choose2Protect campaign, it was all about engaging youth on a peer-to-peer mode,” he added.
Perspective Strategies is an agency founded in 2006, focused on delivering the full range of communication and public relations services including communication strategy development, issues management, corporate reputation and brand communication.
Given Malaysia’s largely conservative sentiments when it comes to sex education, Perspective Strategies conceptualised the Campaign using the peer-to-peer education as a strategy to break down communication barriers and engage youths on this important yet difficult subject. The effort yielded tremendous results. Since August 2013, Durex and its group of Peer Educators have reached out to more than 30,000 students nationwide and counting.
The deployment of a multi-faceted communication approach to empower youth to be at the forefront of change resulted in the campaign’s success in winning the “Best Corporate Social Responsibility” and the “Best Public Affairs” awards at this MPRA. In addition, the Campaign was recognised for its success in challenging youths’ ignorance on HIV with its creative use of social media in conjunction with World AIDS Day, taking a “Certificate of Excellence” for the “Best Use of Digital” award category.
“We are humbled by the recognition from the industry once again. For a local agency, this is certainly very significant and meaningful to us. Importantly, the wins over the last two years – one in internal communication and the other in stakeholder engagement, represents the two growth areas of PR which we are pursuing as a firm,” said Andy See.
The recent MPRA is the seventh edition organised annually by the PRCA Malaysia. It serves as a platform to recognise the country’s public relations professionals for the meaningful and effective campaigns and communication programmes executed for their organisations and clients. This year’s awards covered 14 categories including the Product Brand Development Award, Crisis or Issues Management Award, Technology Award, Consumer Launch Award, Best Use of Digital and the Environmental Award.
This year, the Malaysia PR Awards (MPRA) saw 35 firms vying for honorable top spots in 13 awards categories.
Out of these, Perspective Strategies Sdn Bhd bagged two awards, one Certificate of Excellence and four Honourable Mentions.
Its Uniting Under One Banner campaign, merging MBF Cards with Ambank Cards earned the homegrown, boutique consultancy firm two awards, namely Best Campaign of the Year and Employee Communications Campaign of the Year.
The firm also picked up a Certificate of Excellence under the Product Development Campaign of the Year category for its work for Malakoff’s Powerman Asian Duathlon Championship and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The same campaign received Honourable Mention under the Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign of the Year category.
Honourable Mention certificates were also received for its work for PETRONAS-Switch for XTRA, Not All Fuels Are The Same under the Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year category; and two from its PejanaBebas-KeTTHa Green Schools Campaign in both the Public Affairs and Environmental Campaigns of the year categories.
“We are very honoured yet humbled by the win, knowing that our work is recognised by the industry and chosen over many other great PR campaigns”, said Andy See, managing director of Perspective Strategies. This is the sixth year that the MPRA has been held.
It is organised by the Public Relations Consultants’ of Malaysia (PRCA Malaysia) and serves as a platform for public relations professionals to showcase their best campaigns and communications programmes executed for their clients.
This article was originally published in The Sun, on 10 July 2013.
We are incredibly honoured and humbled to be recognised as one of the top 10 public relations agency in Malaysia! We pride ourselves in delivering beyond our clients' expectation and we are extremely grateful to everyone who have supported and stood by us through the years – all playing a critical role in our success.
The article was originally published in Top 10 of Malaysia Magazine's Special Story of Advertising & Public Relations, in January 2013.