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Most Malaysians look to emigrate for career, work-life balance

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 30): Ninety per cent of Malaysians are looking to emigrate for better career opportunities and work-life balance, according to Randstad’s latest survey. The 2019 Randstad Workmonitor third-quarter (3Q) survey found among locally-based respondents, countries near home such as Australia, Singapore and Japan are the top three choices for work.

“Companies in these markets are perceived to be able to provide higher salaries and support healthier work-life initiatives. These markets also have better currency exchange rates, appealing to locally-based talent,” said Randstad in a statement yesterday.

The study showed eight in 10 (80%) Malaysians surveyed want a job role that allows them to travel. “Having an overseas exposure is important to workers as they can gain different perspectives, learn new skills from their global counterparts and build a global network of connections,” said Randstad.

“Close to nine in 10 respondents (89%) aged between 18 and 34 are even willing to emigrate to pursue a meaningful career in another country. Eighty-five per cent would move for a substantially higher salary and 71% will do so if it means they can keep their jobs with their current employers.”

Randstad managing director for Singapore and Malaysia Jaya Dass noted young employees are highly motivated and eager to learn new skills, meet new people and experience new encounters.

“Compared to senior professionals, they are also more willing to emigrate as many of them do not have family responsibilities yet and are focused on career development. If done with the right attitude, this drive can help them get promoted and take home a larger pay cheque.

“However, these sentiments among youths mean companies need to improve employee attraction and engagement initiatives to avoid a possible brain drain as Malaysia needs local talent to sustain its long-term economic growth,” she said.

Covering 34 markets worldwide, the 2019 Randstad Workmonitor 3Q survey was conducted online from July 18 to Aug 5, among employees aged 18 to 65 working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job and not self-employed. The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per market.

“Local workers, especially from the younger generation, may be drawn to other economies because of higher-skilled jobs available and better currency exchange rates,” said Dass. “To curb this brain drain, it is critical for companies to keep up with changes in the labour market and invest in their businesses and people as we make the fundamental shift to a highly innovative economy, prompted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Dass added: “The more we embrace technology, the more skilled jobs there will be for our local talent. The shift creates more training and development opportunities for the workforce as well, to equip themselves with skills in demand, particularly in new technologies. When this happens, the average salary benchmark increases and workers will be able to negotiate for a career progression and higher salaries.”

Meanwhile, 21% of Malaysians changed employers in the past six months and 40% showed interest in seeking a job. More than two in five (42%) said while not actively seeking a job, they will be interested if an opportunity arises. Dass pointed out as more companies expand their presence in Asia-Pacific, they will start to open offices in Malaysia, creating more job opportunities for locals.

“Local talent equipped with skills in demand will have an upper-hand to choose the companies they want to work for,” she added.

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