- The EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey shows Malaysian employees now have greater influence over their employment terms
- 44% of employees say pay increases are needed to address staff turnover, while only 16% of employers agree
- 16% of Malaysian employers say they want employees to come back to the office five days a week, but 95% of employees want to work remotely for at least two days a week
- 81% of Malaysian employees perceive increased productivity from new ways of working, while only 46% of Malaysian employers agree
Employees around the world, including in Malaysia now hold more sway in the job market, according to the EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey – with more than one-third (36%) of Malaysian respondents saying they are likely to quit in the next 12 months – driven mostly by a desire for higher total pay, better career opportunities and flexibility amid rising inflation, a shrinking labor market and an increase in jobs offering flexible working.
The survey – one of the largest of its kind – canvassed the views of more than 1,500 business leaders and over 17,000 employees across 22 countries, including 50 employers and 250 employees in Malaysia. It shows that, as many countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have gained significant influence over their employers and that their “wish lists” from potential employers have changed.
Increased pay overtakes the desire for flexibility
Almost half of the Malaysian employees (44%) surveyed say they would stay at their organization for better pay. Twenty six percent (26%) cite the desire for enhanced flexibility or remote working, and 24% mention promotion to leadership roles as other reasons to remain at their current workplace.
While 22% of employers in Malaysia agree that providing opportunities to progress career-wise is a means to address employee turnover, only 8% of them are willing to review the competitiveness of their compensation programs.
According to last year’s survey, flexible working arrangements – which were by far the biggest factor leading to employee moves in Malaysia– are now less of a driver. Only sixteen percent of employees are seeking remote-work flexibility even though the majority (95%) say they want to work remotely at least two days per week. This could be due to the fact that most are already working for companies that offer flexibility in some form. Only a minority of employers (16%) say they want employees to come back to the office five days a week.
The majority of employees in Malaysia (72%) say their companies are actively promoting the hybrid working model as a means to attract and retain talent, while 64% of Malaysian employers note they have created a hybrid plan for their employees.
Low Choy Huat, Asean People Advisory Services Leader and Partner, Ernst & Young Consulting Sdn Bhd comments:
“There are four critical actionable insights from the survey. First, offer a working arrangement that is hybrid and flexible in where and when people can work. This includes condensed working weeks where possible in your business context. Second, invest in wellbeing programs and improve remunerations and benefits, besides quickly addressing equity gaps as these are critical for your employee value proposition (EVP). Third, be open to hire from outside your geographical location. Lastly, employers should continuously look at reinventing the workplace and creating a work-technology experience that provides the tools for collaboration, productivity and learning.
Looking at the various age groups, Gen Z employees and millennials in Malaysia (48%) are the most likely to quit their jobs this year compared to 9% of baby boomers,”
Diverging views on culture and productivity
Interestingly, the desire amongst employees in Malaysia to seek out new roles persists even though they hold relatively upbeat views about company culture. The majority of Malaysian employees (72%) believe their organization’s culture has improved since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while only 30% of employers agree. Similarly, while 81% of Malaysian employees believe the new ways of working have increased productivity, the employers’ confidence is eroding fast with less than half of Malaysian employers (46%) perceiving increased productivity.
New ways of working boost culture and productivity
The survey reveals that a large population of “optimistic” employers in Malaysia perceive they are improving in both culture and productivity. They are achieving this by planning moderate to extensive changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees (100%), operationalizing flexible work arrangements (92%), and investing in needed technology for the future (92%). By way of contrast, the “pessimistic” employers are continuing to watch and wait or are only taking selective actions.
“As we move towards the endemicity phase of COVID-19, it is clear that hybrid work and addressing rewards contribute to the overall wellbeing of employees and employers. The survey shows that 88% of employees agree that their employers have taken the right steps to espouse the values of inclusivity and diversity in their work environment, while 84% of employers believe they have taken the right steps.
“Notably, the balance of power has shifted from the employer to the employee. Employers now need to ensure that their employees’ psychological, security, attachment and personal needs are given enough emphasis because this is no longer a numbers game. Aside from raising the pay scale, companies will now need to safeguard the wellbeing of the employees by providing a conducive working environment, whether the setting is remote or in the office.
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About the survey
The EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey is the latest and largest in a series of surveys comparing employer and employee perceptions since 2020. It compares the views of thousands of respondents, and the insights are meant to help businesses to create a sustainable workforce that helps them drive business growth, meet customer needs, and generate long-term value.
The Survey was conducted January through March 2022 and received responses from 17,498 employees and 1,575 employers from 22 countries across 26 industries.
The survey was conducted using a third-party panel and targeted employers with a range of 500 to 15,000 employees.
Survey data is segmented by 88 different personal and work-related demographics and preferences. Participant responses ranged from 21 years to 65 years plus, with responses from senior leaders and individuals at all different functions.