Originally published on SPH Magazines Blog
Google “millennials” and you’ll find no dearth of literature on this topic. Millennials are a generation that people love to hate. Typically written off as a narcissistic, selfie-loving and entitled generation that overshares on social media, millennials (born between 1980- 1995) are now coming of age and will soon represent the largest demographic of working adults, making them the masters of household purse-strings worldwide (ca ching), as such, given the consumerist society we live in, must now be taken seriously.
Much has been written about millennials globally but far less specifically on the enigmatic Singapore millennial woman. Surveying 2,291 millennial women – (as part of its 55th Anniversary celebrations) in one of the largest surveys of its kind earlier this year, Her World attempted to decode the enigma and find out if there is more to her than meets the eye.
Disclaimer: Women are likely to remain an enigma even after reading this. No one really understands women.
The one thing Singapore millennial women wouldn’t do online
Millennials are the generation of digital natives shaped by technology. They thrive on Buzzfeed quizzes, Tumblr GIFs, grumpy cat memes and the random video of a hedgehog getting a tummy rub. They search for everything online, from #ootd style inspiration to reviews on organic shampoo, from Black Friday bargains to the name of the cute stranger they just met. Suffice to say, they do just about everything online. However, there’s still one thing that Singapore millennial women say they wouldn’t do online – seek out a romantic relationship.
52% say online dating is perfectly fine but wouldn’t go for it personally, while a minority hold a harsher view with 12% relegating it to the likes of the desperate and lazy. Ouch! It looks like the stigma of online dating is still much alive and millennials prefer the old school method of face-to-face interaction on this one.
With hooking up becoming as simple as sending a text message and seeing that 83% of Tinder users made up by millennials globally#, have Singapore millennial women been busy “Tindering”? Our survey revealed that 8% of millennial women in Singapore were perfectly ok with casual hookups, while 20% viewed one-night stands as something they need to try at least once in their life. But the majority (72%) remained relatively conservative in their attitude towards casual hookups, saying that they would never have a one-night stand.
What she looks for in a man may surprise you
Millennials are getting married at a later age. The median age of brides in Singapore rose from 26.2 in 2000 to 28.2 in 2014* – a trend that grannies and nosy relatives simply cannot comprehend. Some common thoughts are that youngsters don’t want to get tied down by marriage anymore or if you’re single, female and 30, then the problem must lie with you. You’re too picky so lower your standards and get hitched because, you know, your aunt’s neighbour’s daughter-in-law’s cousin’s niece just got married at 28, so surely there are plenty of eligible bachelors out there.
So what’s the deal? Her World found that 60% of millennial women in Singapore are keen to get married in the future. What’s interesting is that their number one criteria in a prospective husband is that he is family-oriented and filial. Like-mindedness and financial stability ranked second and third place respectively. Supporting their parents was also the top expense weighing on the minds of millennial women, which trumped housing, healthcare and day-to-day expenses in financial concerns. Car ownership represented the least of their concerns.
These statistics reveal that rather than being narcissistic, materialistic and guilty of expectations detached from reality, the millennial woman is uniquely Singaporean. Though westernised in her outlook, she hasn’t left her Asian values behind. She’s grounded in her belief in family values and equipped to achieve her own financial stability, hence the sharing of common values weighs prominently in her choice of a partner.
But of course, financial stability in a partner is still important because an independent woman deserves an equal who can complement her. After all, any independent girl knows she doesn’t need a man to provide but she wants a man who can.
Millennial women in Singapore are the most financially independent globally
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found 69% of young women in Singapore bring in equal or more salaries than their partner or spouses^. This percentage was higher than the global average of 66%, making Singapore millennial women the most independent globally.
Singapore millennial women ranked a good salary (26%), passion for the job (15%) and work-life balance (13%) as the top three aspects they value in a job. A third of millennials (34%) saw themselves staying between 1-2 years in their current job, while 27% would stay between 2-4 years – a statistic that supports many an employer’s complaint of a lack of loyalty that pervades this generation.
While a good salary is valued, self-actualisation is key to retaining millennials in their jobs. Millennials cited better opportunities elsewhere, feeling under-appreciated for their efforts and a lack of learning opportunities as top three reasons they consider a job switch. Managers play a vital role in connecting with their millennial employees as a whopping 71% of millennials believed in collaborating rather than complying in a work situation.
Are today’s managers engaging millennials in constant dialogue, providing feedback consistently and showing appreciation when warranted? Today’s managers need to evolve to become more of a mentor, rather than relying on yester-year’s rigid, top-down approach. Collaboration can lead to unexpected solutions that would have otherwise been lost with compliance.
So there you have it. The Singapore millennial woman: fiercely independent in the workplace but uniquely Singaporean at heart.
*Source: Singstat statistics on Marriage and Divorces in 2014.
#Source: Global Web Index, Q1 2015. Base: Tinder users aged 16-64. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dating-apps-vanity-fair-data_55ccf3e9e4b064d5910ae171
^Source: PwC survey of 8,756 female millennials (women born between 1980 – 1995) http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/female-singaporean-millennials-independent-globally/
About Guest Blogger – Rachel Cheong :
Rachel thinks of herself as an inquisitive thinker with a knack for all things digital. Despite the battle scars, she’s somewhat of an agency junkie, having worked in creative, digital and media agencies for over a decade. Armed with an adventurous spirit, she is always keen to seek out new challenges in hopes of keeping her grey matter from greying.