Malaysia’s Covid-19 economic recovery has triggered a national employee movement, with 61 percent of employees planning on looking for a new role within the next 12 months – the highest rate out of all countries surveyed in new research by Employment Hero (Singapore 59 percent, Australia 48 percent, New Zealand 50 percent and United Kingdom 55 percent).

Younger talent aged 35 and under are most prepared to move on from their current workplaces. Of the Gen Z workers aged 18-24 surveyed, a whopping 81 percent are planning on changing roles in the next year, as are 68 percent of Millennial workers aged 25-34. This young talent is also most active in their job search with 58 percent of Gen Zs and 63% of Millennials saying they have spoken to a recruiter in the last six months, while 29% of 18-24 year olds and 22 percent of 25-34 year olds have already applied for a role in the last three months.

Interestingly, Employment Hero’s research, which polled 1,004 Malaysian employees in its Employee Movement and Retention Report, found the majority of employees like (45 percent) or even love (24 percent) their role, with only a minority (4 percent) saying they disliked or hated their job. This suggests that the work itself is not the issue.

Of those who want to leave their organization, the top reason is a lack of career development (36 percent), followed by a lack of appreciation or recognition (27 percent) and a lack of training opportunities (26 percent). Beyond this, reasons extended to no pay rise, management woes, feeling overworked, and a lack of flexibility.

The financial disruption caused by the pandemic has been hard for many employees to shake, as three quarters (74 percent) of those who received a pay cut during this time say they will be looking for a new role within the year. This is perhaps no surprise, given that more Malaysian workers (53 percent) faced significant pay cuts during the pandemic compared to their neighbor in Singapore (32 percent).

The issue of talent loss or ‘brain drain’ proves to be an issue, with 72 percent of Malaysian workers considering overseas work. This is significantly more employees than other countries surveyed (Singapore 55 percent, Australia 42 percent, New Zealand 48 percent, United Kingdom 50 percent), with the main reasons being better pay and improved career prospects.

When asked what would encourage them to stay in their current role, 45 percent said a salary increase; 32 percent want more rewards and recognition; 28 percent selected a promotion; 28 percent want the introduction of a bonus structure, and 24 percent would like flexible working options.

“The pandemic has given talent many reasons to change direction in their careers or venture overseas as the world opens up. The biggest indication that something needs to change is that 24 percent of Malaysians say they “love” their job and 45 percent say they “like” it, but most of them have already planned to leave it – this is a problem for local employers and should prompt many to reassess their policies, working culture and retention strategies,” said Ben Thompson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Employment Hero.

“In this candidate-driven market, employers need to pivot their thinking to be people-first. For instance, employers can set up strong career development pathways for staff, invest in their upskilling by offering training or mentorship programmes, give staff extra leave days, or offer flexible and remote working arrangements,” said Thompson.

“What’s important is that each employer is able to identify the unique issues in their own organization and address them via a broader retention strategy, which will help them to secure and hold onto great talent. Ultimately, workers will stay with companies that support them, and leave the ones that don’t,” Thompson added.


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