Job-hoppers provoke hiring rejig

Job-hoppers provoke hiring rejig

Students stop at a booth at the Job Expo Thailand 2023 at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre on June 23. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Students stop at a booth at the Job Expo Thailand 2023 at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre on June 23. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Companies can improve their staff recruitments by having "a contractual bond" for new employees.

Under this concept, when someone is hired, the employee would be required to pay the company if they leave within a specific timeframe. This requirement would force the job applicant to consider the company they are applying to, the role and the required responsibilities.

Also, it would force the company to think about the kind of graduates it wants to employ and how it utilises existing staff. Companies complain that young graduates frequently job-hop; however, this mismatch might be for several reasons, including the companies themselves, the education system and home life.

Working in a company is an exchange of value. The company gets work done, and the employees get a salary at the most basic level. This exchange is like universities or schools where students gain an education by applying themselves and institute a positive reputation from output. When both parties benefit, there is job satisfaction and economic gains. A value is placed on production and time. Companies spend money and time on hiring and training new employees, with the onboarding process usually three to six months long. Costs are direct and indirect. The return on investment is relatively low on average for the first three years (some fun but complicated maths). Job-hopping benefits no one.

There may be a need to part ways early in the employment process, but a contractual bond (company bonds) should be structured in a not-too-restrictive but pragmatic way. People make errors even with applicant tracking software. So, while this idea includes bonds, it does not mean bondage. Thai labour laws are very employee-friendly, with chaotic application to foreigners. There is a deliberate inefficiency in companies (and schools) when there is an avoidance of directness -- an effort to be nice. But good intentions do not mean good results. Hence, students rarely fail courses at school. A corporate bond for (at least some) jobs would help bring honest discussions required at work and schools.

Universities need to prepare students for the workplace by creating a greater understanding of the exchange of time for money. Unfortunately, universities have become a place where students pay to be entertained, with some education thrown in.

This edutainment does not reflect what is required to grow professionally, hence the disconnect when graduates are required to be professionals. On entering the workplace, the shock is significant, so there is a quick reaction to leave. Internships aim to bridge this gap; however, many students aim to pass through internships as with the rest of their degree with minimal effort. I know undergraduates refuse longer internships and choose the minimum because work is "just too hard". The resilience required and the desire to succeed are not there.

Parents must also consider their children's interests when choosing a university and a university programme. Many students enter university not knowing what they want and may not know what they want on graduation. Many of my university students are pursuing degrees because they were told to do so by their parents, who, ironically, complain when their children fail or do not get high grades.

There is a fascinating growing body of research on university preparation. Home is where students should conceptualise what they want to pursue. Thus, ask questions like "What do you want to do when you grow up?" or "What do you want to achieve when you grow up?" These conversations are not occurring in homes; thus, the burden is passed on to schools and employers.

Having future employees sign a contractual obligation before starting work would push the idea of preparation for the workplace back towards employees, schools and homes.

Employers can thus focus on creating an environment for personnel growth and business efficiency -- both required for business growth. The result would be a win for all those involved.

Mariano Miguel Carrera, PhD, is a lecturer at the International College at King Mongkut's University of Technology, North Bangkok.

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