Malaysians favour teamwork over individualism compared to rest of the APAC workforce

Teamwork and collaboration continues to be a top priority for Malaysian workers, according to PERSOLKELLY’s latest Asia Pacific (APAC) Q3 Workforce Insights report. The findings indicate that a mere 48% of the Malaysian workforce favours individualism, setting itself apart from the rest of APAC, which is very much in favour of individualism in the workplace.

The Workforce Insights report found that 51% of the APAC workforce are looking for a role where they would be treated as an individual. India takes the lead, with 59% of their respondents indicating a desire to be treated individually rather than uniformly with other team members.

In comparison, Malaysia is 11% lower than India and 3% lower than the APAC average. These resonate with the findings for Australia (48%) and Hong Kong (49%), who much like the Malaysian workforce, are in favour of being treated as being part of a team rather than as individuals.

“As the rest of APAC moves towards a career that is focused on self-advancement, individualistic ideals are becoming more frequently observed,” said Brian Sim, Deputy Country Head, Malaysia at Kelly Services. “Malaysia, however, stands out in this aspect. When considering the reason why Malaysians still believe in teamwork and collaboration, there are various factors that are in play, including Malaysia’s history and culture. The concept of togetherness, which are engrained in Malaysians, eventually translates into how they behave at work, whereby there is an understanding that more can be achieved by helping one another,” said Sim.

PERSOLKELLY’s Q2 Workforce Insights report had previously highlighted that 29% of Malaysian workers feel a sense of belonging at their workplace as their cultural background is valued. This is 12% higher than the APAC average findings. This desire to be valued from a cultural perspective is indicative of the Malaysian worker’s mindset, which is more focused on teamwork and collaboration rather than personal achievements.

This is established from the findings of Q3 report, which highlights majority of Malaysians favouring teamwork. Also, 75% of Malaysian respondents think that some people may prefer to be treated as an individual for the recognition of their individual skills and talents.

More interestingly is the role of managers, which as previously highlighted in the Q2 Workforce Insights report, is crucial to ensure workforce happiness and success. Bearing in mind the rise of individualism across APAC, managers need to understand the motivations of each team member and tailor their work experience to suit them in order to ensure team success.

Equipped with this knowledge about the Malaysian workforce favouring teamwork, businesses can take advantage of this by creating work environments that encourage collaboration and discussion. “Creating open offices and setting team goals will go a long way for Malaysian organisations that wish to leverage their workforce potential,” adds Sim.

In terms of work status, the Q3 Workforce Insights report indicates that only 45% of those who are looking for work are in favour of individualism. Freelancers on the other hand, unsurprisingly, are heavily in favour of being treated as individuals, with 57% of respondents in agreement with the proposition.

PERSOLKELLY’s APAC Workforce Insights survey featured responses from more than 9,000 hiring managers and candidates from nine countries in APAC, and across a wide range of industries. The PERSOLKELLY 2018 APAC Workforce Insights Q3 report can be downloaded here.