Survey shows one in two Malaysians fears job loss amid economic shifts

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — One in two Malaysians fear losing their jobs as concern grows over how the economy will impact their job security, international talent company Randstad said today based on its recent survey of local employees and job seekers.

The company said the 2024 Workmonitor research in Malaysia found that the fear of job loss was notably higher among Gen Z (59 per cent) and Millennials (57 per cent).

The survey asked 517 locally-based employees and job seekers about their career expectations and experiences across four themes: motivation and ambition, flexibility, equity and understanding, and artificial intelligence (AI) and skilling.

In a statement, Randstad said its survey found 55 per cent of Malaysians would remain with their jobs even if there is no room for career advancements as long as they felt happy, because job and income stability were their top priorities.

Two in five Malaysians surveyed also said that they are happy where they currently are and don‘t mind if their career does not progress. Gen Z (44 per cent) and Millennials (43 per cent) were found to make up the biggest numbers of people in this group.

When thinking about the changing economic landscape, Randstad found that about two in five Malaysians have taken or are taking on second jobs to help with the rising cost of living, and worry about economic uncertainty impacting their career progression.

The survey also revealed that one in two Malaysians said they would quit their jobs if it did not offer them enough career progression opportunities.

However, 55 per cent indicated they would remain in their current role if they are happy with it, even if there is no room to progress or develop.

“The labour marketplace in Malaysia has evolved from being a transactional one to an employer’s ability to meet individualistic talent motivations and aspirations.

“Companies must prioritise effective communication to understand specific needs like flexibility, career advancement, or training opportunities.

“Adopting a ‘talent-first’ approach addressing personalised employee goals helps businesses differentiate and succeed in the competitive world of work,” Fahad Naeem, Randstad Malaysia country director, said in the statement accompanying the survey results.

Strong career ambitions, but increasing focus on overall job satisfaction

The company said that in Malaysia, 73 per cent consider themselves to be ambitious, which is 17 per cent above the global average.

It also noted that 12 per cent of Malaysian workers never want to take on any managerial roles.

However, Randstad said its research indicates that not wanting career progression does not mean employees have no interest in self-improvement, with more than four in five respondents (81 per cent) said ranking training and development opportunities are important when thinking about their current and future employers.

The five most important factors when thinking about their current or future employment include work-life balance (94 per cent) and salary (94 per cent), health insurance and healthcare benefits (90 per cent), working hours flexibility (89 per cent), job security (88 per cent) and mental health support (87 per cent).

“While Malaysians are ambitious to seek higher salaries and more prestigious job titles, they balance it with finding employers who can offer a positive experience.

“Being able to secure a stable work-life balance, having their physical and mental health taken care of by employers, and having the opportunity to upskill would sometime be more important than doing the same job for a higher salary,” Naeem added.

The survey also said that the workers continue to prioritise the ‘future proofing’ of their skills, particularly in light of the widespread adoption of AI.— Reuters pic

Skilling opportunities are non-negotiable for talent

The survey also said that the workers continue to prioritise the ‘future proofing’ of their skills, particularly in light of the widespread adoption of AI.

The survey found that nearly half (47 per cent) of Malaysians said that they would not accept a job if it did not offer learning and development opportunities to future-proof their skills.

More than one in three respondents said that they would quit their jobs if they were not offered any opportunities to future proof their skills.

Notably, a significant 43 per cent of Gen Z would consider quitting a job that does not offer upskilling opportunities, while only 15 per cent of Baby Boomers would take such action.

In Malaysia, 53 per cent of respondents said that it is the employer’s responsibility to train and upskill.

With the arrival of AI in workplaces, Naeem said that employees need to develop different skills, and technology has become crucial.

“The importance of learning opportunities to talent reinforces the desire for partnership between employees and employers. This is now an important factor for employees when choosing a job.

“Organisations looking to hire will need to share more about their learning and development efforts and outcomes with job seekers to attract the best talent with aligned values,” he said.

Source: Malay Mail