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Survey shows one in two working Malaysians ready to quit for better work-life balance as more bosses push for working fully from the office

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — One out of every two working Malaysians are willing to quit their current jobs for a healthier work-life balance, talent company Randstad said today of its recent survey of over 2,500 workers in the country.

The company said the same survey also found that 16 per cent more employees have fully returned to working fully from the office this year compared to 2022.

In its 2023 Employer Brand Research in Malaysia now in its eighth edition, Randstad said 96 per cent of Malaysian workers it surveyed said that flexible working options are valuable, and 87 per cent of Malaysian workers said that non-monetary benefits are important.

They Randstad report aims to find out the sentiments of Malaysia’s workforce to highlight how talent expectations have evolved alongside the economy and labour markets.

Aside from to improve their work-life balance, the other top five reasons Malaysians would decide to leave their employers are: lack of career growth opportunities (36 per cent), low compensation and rising cost of living (35 per cent), receiving an offer they could not refuse (32 per cent), and poor leadership by employers ( 27 per cent)

Data from the 2023 Employer Brand Research also revealed that one in three Malaysians are planning to switch jobs in 2023.

When broken down into generations, millennials (42 per cent) are the most likely to switch jobs, followed by Gen Z (37 per cent) and Gen X (29 per cent).

Following hybrid work during the pandemic, 53 per cent of Malaysians surveyed revealed that they were required to return to an all-office working arrangement in 2023. This is a 16 per cent increase compared to 2022, and 34 per cent more from 2021.

Randstad Malaysia country director Fahad Naeem said the last three years has seen Malaysia’s economy and labour markets faced with unprecedented challenges which have transformed the way Malaysians view and approach work.

He said that while competitive salaries and benefits continue to be a top priority for talent, today’s employees are actively seeking employers who can offer a more holistic work experience that supports a healthy work life.

“In an increasingly competitive labour market, employers must stay attuned with what job seekers look for in an ideal employer to build effective talent recruitment strategies.

“By aligning themselves with talent expectations, companies can better position themselves to attract and retain the best and brightest in Malaysia,” he said in a statement accompanying the survey findings.

“Now more than ever, Malaysian workers want autonomy in shaping a work-life routine that works best for them, and flexible work options can help them realise that vision.

“On the other hand, employers are keen on returning to pre-pandemic work arrangements to increase productivity and create opportunities for employees to engage with one another to build a stronger company culture,” he added.

Fahad said that enforcing an all-office work arrangement can lead to resistance and disengagement among employees, especially if they are able to prove higher productivity when working remotely.

“Employers need to actively listen to what their employees want and consider how the benefits and drawbacks of different work arrangements would impact job satisfaction and productivity, as well as the company’s talent recruitment strategies,” he said.

Work life balance is not just working from home

On top of flexible work arrangements, Malaysian workers attach equal importance in cultivating positive relationships with their managers and colleagues.

The survey also revealed that 87 per cent of Malaysians find non-monetary benefits important.

Non-monetary benefits refer to initiatives that do not provide direct financial compensation to employees. Rather, they offer intangible benefits that improve employees’ job satisfaction and work-life balance.

According to the Randstad survey, 96 per cent said that they value good relationships with their managers and colleagues, flexible work arrangements and convenient locations, while 93 per cent asked for more autonomy to perform their roles.

“Work-life balance is no longer about rigidly dividing 24 hours a day between work and personal life. The advancements in technology and increasing demands of work have only further blurred our work boundaries.

“With hybrid work, job responsibilities have merged into various aspects of our lives, which is redefining how people view work in their lives. Talents are looking for organisations that can support this integration so that work can be a source of fulfilment and enjoyment,” Fahad said.

In January, the 2023 Randstad Employer Brand Research reached out to over 163,000 respondents across 32 markets, including 2,529 individuals based in Malaysia.