Gen Z, millennial employees to lead the Great Malaysian Resignation exodus, study says

MALAYSIA’S COVID-19 economic recovery has triggered a national employee movement, with 61% of employees planning on looking for a new role within the next 12 months – the highest rate out of all countries surveyed.

This is according to new research by Employment Hero, with other surveyed countries including Singapore (59%), Australia (48%), New Zealand (50%) and the United Kingdom (55%).

According to the study, younger talents aged 35 and under are most prepared to move on from their current workplaces.

Of the Gen Z employees aged 18-24 surveyed, 81% are planning on changing roles in the next year, as are 68% of millennial employees aged 25-34.

This young talent is also most active in their job search with 58% 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% 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%) or even love (24%) their role, with only a minority (4%) saying they disliked or hated their job. 

This suggests that the work itself is not the issue. 

Of those who want to leave their organisation, the top reason is a lack of career development (36%), followed by a lack of appreciation or recognition (27%) and a lack of training opportunities (26%). 

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%) 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%) faced significant pay cuts during the pandemic compared to their neighbour in Singapore (32%).

The issue of talent loss or “brain drain” proves to be an issue, with 72% of Malaysian workers considering overseas work. 

This is significantly more employees than other countries surveyed (Singapore 55%, Australia 42%, New Zealand 48%, United Kingdom 50%), with the main reasons being better pay and improved career prospects.

When asked what would encourage them to stay in their current role, 45% said a salary increase; 32% want more rewards and recognition; 28% selected a promotion; 28% want the introduction of a bonus structure, and 24% 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,” commented Employment Hero chief executive officer and co-founder Ben Thompson.

“The biggest indication that something needs to change is that 24% of Malaysians say they ‘love’ their job and 45% 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.

“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,” Thompson added.

According to him, what is important is that each employer is able to identify the unique issues in their own organisation 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 remarked. – Nov 16, 2021

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