58% of Malaysians seeking new job in the next year

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MORE than one in two or 58% of Malaysians intend to look for a job in the next 12 months, according to Randstad Malaysia’s 2020 Covid-19 Labour Pulse Survey.

Of the 58% who planned to obtain a new job, 24% were looking to change their career or industry, 13% said their skills and experience no longer meet their current job requirements, and 15% were retrenched.

Randstad Malaysia and Singapore MD Jaya Dass said a great number of jobs have been digitised or displaced as a result of companies investing in digital infrastructure and network building amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employees whose job responsibilities have been drastically altered to meet new demands may be motivated to join other companies where their skills and experience are still relevant.

“Some may even switch industries and careers altogether, and look for job opportunities that are perceived to be more recession-proof or can provide a greater sense of job security, such as in healthcare and technology.

“We can expect to see more movements in the job market once the economy picks up and new job opportunities arise,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Other respondents cited salary-related reasons behind their intention to switch employers. Twenty-six percent of the participants took a pay cut or a pay freeze either indefinitely, or for a temporary period, while 24% mentioned dissatisfaction with their current salary.

National lockdowns and slowing international trade have severely impacted companies’ financial confidence this year, Dass said.

A number of companies have implemented budgeting measures to keep operating costs and overheads low, and are working towards optimising operational efficiency with a leaner workforce.

“These cost management measures may result in uncertainty within the workforce, and employees may feel that the company is not financially stable enough to tide through this pandemic.

“To avoid being a collateral loss, some employees would choose to take the risk and join an employer that is seen to be more financially stable as soon as they can,” she added.

Under the current labour market conditions, 72% of participants said they’re willing to take on professional contract or project-based jobs.

Of the 28% who were not inclined towards contract roles, 70% cited the lack of job security and stability as reasons why they would rather wait for a permanent offer instead.

“Though contracting jobs are not what Asian talent usually would go for due to its perceived lack of job security and stability, many are starting to see it as a viable option during these trying times,” Dass stated.

Amid the pandemic, many have found themselves unable to safeguard their jobs and livelihoods. These temporary jobs offer some level of income stability to stay afloat, especially for adults who have recurring loans to pay off.

Compared to being jobless, contracting jobs may actually provide more job security. Many contractors also said they were able to secure a new contract before their existing one ended, giving them continued employment.

“We’ve also observed more companies offering term-based or project-based roles to fulfil urgent skills and talent needs to ensure business continuity while managing headcount costs.

“Contract roles can also offer mid-career switchers a chance to get their foot in the door to gain relevant skills and experience, especially if it’s in an industry or with a company they would like to build their career in,” Dass said.

Given the current employment situation, those who have experienced retrenchment may want to consider a contracting role as an opportunity to gain experience and acquire new skills to stay employable.

These candidates are also more likely to be able to renegotiate their salary once the market recovers, as opposed to those who halted their career development during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted between June 26 and July 5, 2020, with 531 locally based employees. It aims to understand the local workforce’s sentiments about the employment market this year and the challenges and experiences of job seekers thus far.