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Survey finds Malaysians consider ageism a barrier to work opportunities

Almost 90 per cent of Malaysian respondents believe that the willingness to embrace change and working hard are essential to achieving better opportunities this year. — Reuters pic
Almost 90 per cent of Malaysian respondents believe that the willingness to embrace change and working hard are essential to achieving better opportunities this year. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 ― A research by professional social networking site LinkedIn revealed that Malaysians find age as a barrier to work opportunities in the current economic climate.

The LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020 saw that 40 per cent of Gen Z (those aged between 18 and 22 years old) and 21 per cent of millennials (aged between 23 and 38 years old) felt held back by a lack of work experience.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent of Boomers (55 to 65-year-olds) and 33 per cent of Gen X (39 to 54-year-olds) admitted that they were struggling to keep up with the new technological and automation changes.

LinkedIn Asia Pacific Managing director Olivier Legrand said that age manifests as different opportunity gaps for other age groups.

“For the first time, four generations are working together. It’s time for businesses to set aside hiring biases against age, and embrace the multigenerational workforce as an opportunity,” said Legrand.

“The biggest skills gaps that we see today are soft skills among Gen Z and millennials, and tech skills among the older generation. We encourage companies to hire for complementary skills and to promote collaboration and bi-directional mentorship among their workforce,” he said, adding that a multigenerational and diverse workforce is a business advantage and driver of growth.

The Index said that overall, Malaysians have a relatively positive outlook on the local economy, and are more optimistic in relation to developed markets such as Singapore, Australia and Japan.

Almost 90 per cent of Malaysian respondents believe that the willingness to embrace change and working hard are essential to achieving better opportunities this year.

However, 77 per cent of Malaysians also believe that education is important if they want to get ahead in life.

“It is therefore not surprising to see that 31 per cent of Malaysians — the highest in Asia Pacific — are looking for opportunities where they can learn a new skill or technology. This suggests an appetite to elevate themselves in the workforce and to compete more efficiently,” said Legrand.

The research found that Malaysians’ long-term pursuit of a good quality of life is ultimately defined by “good health”. However, at the moment, career and life goals are of the utmost importance to them.

“Malaysians are most keen on opportunities that allow work-life balance and greater financial independence. Boomers and Gen X seek better health and secure finances for the future, while millennials and Gen Z prioritise a stable job,” said Legrand.

But the pursuit of these opportunities is hindered by “opportunity gaps” or barriers to opportunities like today’s difficult job market, a lack of financial resources and age.

The index is a composite measure that seeks to understand how people perceive opportunity and more importantly, the gaps in getting to those opportunities. The research surveyed over 30,000 respondents in 22 markets globally, including 1,050 in Malaysia between September and October 2019.

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