Y CapitaLand is Choice of the New Generation

People first corporate philosophy wins Gen Y employees

Issue: May 2011

Duan in Shanghai
Gen Y's work aspirations are well met at CapitaLand

Eric Duan does not consider himself a typical Gen Yer. But the 27-year-old Shanghai native certainly falls within the age bracket. These successors of Generation X have been nurtured through multiple activities, taught to question status quo, raised to value reason, and finally, be unafraid to speak their minds.

All these have now come to have a bearing on what this generation wants as they enter the workforce. And CapitaLand can say that it understands the work aspirations of this generation. Earlier this year the company was voted one of the Most Desired Company to work for among Gen Y respondents in a survey by executive search firm PeopleSearch and Boardroom Research.

Though he denies being the Gen Y norm, Duan’s work aspirations are actually every bit the typical Gen Y worker. This Assistant Manager of the Business Development and Asset Management department of The Ascott Limited, a subsidiary of CapitaLand, will not settle for second best in his choice of employer.

Duan left Shanghai to work for CapitaLand in Singapore

Duan in University
Having been interested in business and investment since he was young, Duan (first from left) chose to study economics and business at the Shanghai University of Finance & Economics and pursue his MBA (specialised in real estate) at National University of Singapore

High Expectations of Career and Company

Duan's career track record is evidence of his high expectations. After graduating from one of the city's best universities, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics, with a degree in Financial Management, he worked in a Fortune 500 MNC as a financial management trainee. He followed this up with a position in a hedge fund administration company where he worked as a senior associate in trade processing. Working with CapitaLand, a giant in the Asian real estate scene, was just another move that proves that Duan, like his Gen Y peers, seeks out only the best.

More Than Just A Job

Like the rest of the Gen Yers who were brought up in economically more stable times and have the luxury of choice, Duan has always placed career advancement over simply finding a job to pay the bills.

"I want to work for a company which has great potential, and one that enables its staff to grow together as the company grows," says Duan.

His path crossed CapitaLand's when he wanted to do a post-graduate degree. CapitaLand was offering scholarships for real estate and business related masters programmes at the National University of Singapore under the CapitaLand International Scholarship programme.

"I took up the scholarship not because of the money but because of CapitaLand's well-designed talent programme," recalls Duan. "I was attracted to the company's platforms for personal growth as well as career development."

Even before Duan formally began working with CapitaLand, he was already asked to attend various corporate functions and seminars held by the company.

CapitaLand's commitment to cultivating its human capital is also evident in its investment in training. It has CLIMB (CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business) to conduct training programmes for its over 10,000 employees worldwide. There is also ACE (Ascott Centre for Excellence), The Ascott Limited's global training centre for hospitality.

Open Lines of Communication Draw Gen Y

Gen Yers grew up with constant feedback from parents and teachers. As adults, they expect the same open communication with their bosses. In this area, Duan is not disappointed. He works in a small team of four led by the Chief Investment Officer of The Ascott Limited, Ronald Tay.

"The higher management is willing to hear from the staff and does make the effort to satisfy the needs of the staff. The senior staff also mentor the junior ones and newcomers so that the latter will not feel left out," says Duan.

In the year and a half that he has worked at The Ascott Limited, Duan has also been given opportunities he has not expected from his superiors.

"I've been involved in nearly 10 transactions. Last year, I went overseas to explore a new market in Southeast Asia. Last month, I went on a study trip to USA to assess possible business development opportunities.

I was exposed to all kinds of asset management issues and was even invited to various corporate functions, conventions and forums from time to time where I interacted with senior industry experts and government officers. I was also engaged in all kinds of internal committees and workshops where we brainstormed and contributed ideas to the company's daily operations and strategies. I'm grateful for the chances and exposure given. I doubt many at my age would have had this same level of exposure," raves Duan.

We are the World

Duan may have grown up witnessing Shanghai's transformation into a prosperous international hub and his country's economic development. But that has not stopped him and his generation from developing a consciousness of the world around.

Duan with co-workers
Duan (first from left) believes that personal success would only be meaningful when he achieves the goal together with his colleagues at The Ascott Limited

"We care about the environment and the underprivileged. I was glad to see that CapitaLand is a company that cares, too. Over the years, CapitaLand has helped build schools for underprivileged kids in China and Vietnam, held events and campaigns to provide the kids opportunities to see a bigger world, as well as actively promote green initiatives to contribute to a sustainable earth. CapitaLand is taking actions to improve society."

That same others-consciousness also makes Gen Yers team players.

"I deeply believe that personal success would only be meaningful when the whole team achieves their goal," says Duan.

As the team Duan is in is small, the team spirit is very strong.

"We back each other up and share the work load quite evenly. We will even write birthday cards and have a small birthday celebration every month for colleagues born in that month," says Duan.

It's CapitaLand for the Long Haul

There is, however, one thing about his generation that Duan hopes not to emulate.

"My generation tends to be unafraid to switch jobs. I've switched careers twice in just a few years. But this time, I want to stay on in CapitaLand even after the bond."

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