More Malaysians willing to emigrate for career progression, work-life balance

Young employees are more inclined to emigrate as they are highly-motivated and keen on gaining new experience while meeting new people


NINETY-PERCENT of Malaysians are willing to emigrate and work abroad if it leads to career progression, better work-life balance and a higher salary, based on Randstad Workmonitor third-quarter 2019 survey.

The survey stated 94% of local respondents between the age of 18 and 34 are those most willing to consider emigrating for said reasons, while respondents aged 35 to 54 recorded 91% and 70% for those aged 55 to 67.

The study also showed 85% of Malaysians are also willing to emigrate for a substantially higher salary.

Malaysians also chose Australia, Singapore and Japan as the top three countries that they are willing to emigrate to — as companies in these markets are perceived to be able to provide higher salaries and support better work-life balance.

According to Randstad Singapore and Malaysia MD Jaya Dass, most of the respondents are from technology, energy (oil and gas), transportation, aerospace as well as supply chain industries.

“Employees in these industries have technical skills that can be easily transferred beyond borders.

“In addition, these multinational firms are present in key markets such as Malaysia, which creates an opportunity for local workers to request for transfer to another market,” she told The Malaysian Reserve.

Dass also said in a statement that young employees are more inclined to emigrate as they are highly-motivated and keen on gaining new experience while meeting new people due to the lack of family responsibilities for those in that age group.

“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 their career development.

“If done with the right attitude, this drive can help them to get promoted and take home a larger pay cheque,” she said.

The sentiments that are present among the youths also indicate the need for companies to improve their employee attraction and engagement initiatives to avoid a possible brain drain, as Malaysia needs local talent to sustain long-term economic growth.

The study was conducted online among employees aged between 18 and 65 that work minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job and not self-employed. The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per market.

Dass said local workers may be attracted to other economies due to the availability of higher-skilled jobs and better currency exchange rate.

It is important for companies to invest in their business and people in an effort to curb the brain drain phenomenon as the country moves to become a high-innovative economy, in line with the fourth industrial revolution, said Dass.

Sixty-five percent of local respondents said they invest in themselves by learning about artificial intelligence (AI), while 60% respondents said their employers are investing in technological advancements within the field of AI, and 56% said their employers are investing in training their workforce in the field.

The study also stated that 48% of Malaysians are willing to switch careers instead of emigrating while 83% are willing to travel for an interesting job. Additionally, the survey also revealed that 91% of Malaysian employees like working with people from different cultural background.

Dass said these exposures can aid workers in gaining new perspectives, share best practices and collaborate in new ways.

She added that more job opportunities will be created in Malaysia as more companies expand their businesses in Asia Pacific.

This could benefit local talents that are equipped with in-demand skills because they would have the upper-hand to choose the companies they want to work for.