KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Malaysia is unlike Europe or the United States and won’t be seeing an exodus of workers resigning from their jobs anytime soon even with the post-pandemic economic blues, according to two groups representing employers and workers.

Malaysian Employers Federation president Datuk Syed Hussain Syed Husman told The Sunday Star it found a lower turnover rate based on the economic uncertainty posed by Covid-19 and high unemployment (4.7 percent for the third quarter of 2021 or 746,200 unemployed persons) based on its own salary survey last year.

“Employees thinking of leaving their companies would have to take the risks of whether the new jobs would be any more secure than their present ones.

“Employees’ families may not be ready to take chances for change in view of the current volatile situation,” he was quoted saying in the report published today.

Syed Hussain said employers who have resumed normal operations would seek to retain their employees as they have the necessary skills and training to carry out their work by offering competitive salaries, benefit packages and providing growth opportunities.

He admitted that some employees may look for new opportunities that allow them to work remotely and continue the work-from-home culture they have got used to during the movement control orders, since many employers now want their staff back in the office.

“Working from home has given employees time to think further about what they actually want in life.

“A working career or being an entrepreneur. Some have chosen entrepreneurial approaches as it gives them time and freedom to do what they want.

“Furthermore, many digital platforms have been launched to allow them the opportunity to earn income from home,” Syed Hussain was quoted as saying.

However, he said employers are open to flexible work arrangements and may incorporate them as part of their employee retention strategies.

Similar to the MEF, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) does not foresee workers leaving their current employment en masse.

MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor said there were differences in culture, climate, and also social protection safety nets between Malaysia and countries in the West.

“There are many who are not employed in Malaysia, but this is not caused by Covid-19.

“It is because there is no suitable work due to low salaries and employers who prefer hiring foreign workers as foreign workers are paid less.

“Local workers can perform their responsibilities well if they are paid appropriate wages and are provided with high social protection.

“Local workers must be prioritised in the labour market and be paid commensurate with their experience and years of service,” he told The Sunday Star.

The MEF and MTUC were weighing in on a recent study released by human resources and people management platform Employment Hero which revealed that 61 per cent of Malaysian workers plan to find a new job in the next year.

According to the 2021 Employee Movement and Retention report which polled 1,004 people, younger employees aged 35 and below are among the most prepared to move on from their current workplaces.

The study also found that the majority of employees like (45 per cent) or even love (24 per cent) their role, with only a minority (four per cent) saying they disliked or hated their job. This suggests that the work itself is not the issue.

Instead, the top reasons for leaving are a lack of career development (36 per cent), a lack of appreciation or recognition (27 per cent) and a lack of training opportunities (26 per cent).

Some 74 per cent of those who received a pay cut during Covid-19 also said they will be looking for a new role within the year.

Asked what would encourage them to stay in their current role, 45 per cent of total polled said a salary increase; 32 per cent want more rewards and recognition; 28 per cent selected for a promotion; 28 per cent want the introduction of a bonus structure, and 24 per cent would like flexible working options.

Another study cited in the report was the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey where nine in 10 Malaysians wanted flexibility in where and when they work, with almost half of the Malaysian respondents saying they would quit their jobs if they were not provided post-pandemic flexibility.