KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — A recent study has shed light on the factors influencing job retention and turnover among employees in Malaysia, showing that contrary to common assumptions, the primary reason for employees leaving their jobs is not low pay but rather a desire for fresh challenges.

According to the Hays Asia Salary Guide, which compared data from 2023 to 2024, the top three reasons for employees leaving their positions in 2024 were seeking new challenges, dissatisfaction with salary packages, and a lack of career progression opportunities. This marks a notable shift from the previous year, where the leading cause was low salary.

“A healthy working environment, positive values and a sufficiently challenging role will go a long way towards winning the hearts of employees in Malaysia,” Marc Burrage, managing director at Hays Asia, said in an accompanying press release.

“Leaders need to have these discussions with their workforce, and employees need to examine how they can enhance their value in this period of disruption. Collaboration is the key to survival, and both parties will need to face these challenges with open minds and a willingness to adapt."


The survey also highlighted the importance of flexible work arrangements in retaining employees. Flexible work options emerged as the top priority for workers opting to stay with their current employer at 38.3 per cent, surpassing traditional factors like salary considerations (30.8 per cent).

Additionally, factors such as maintaining a healthy work-life balance (35.8 per cent) and fostering positive relationships with colleagues and managers (34.6 per cent) were cited as crucial in determining job commitment among employees.

On the flip side, employees not committed to their current company cited reasons such as dissatisfaction with work location and lack of flexible work options (43.6 per cent). They also expressed discontent with their relationships with managers and colleagues (35.9 per cent), delays in bonuses or promotions (33.3 per cent), and dissatisfaction with their work-life balance (30.8 per cent) and compensation packages (30.8 per cent).


The survey, conducted over six weeks in late 2023, collected responses from 2,014 skilled professionals and 832 employees in Malaysia, providing valuable insights into the dynamics of the local job market.

Yesterday, a survey by international talent company Randstad said 55 per cent of Malaysians surveyed would remain with their jobs even if there is no room for career advancements as long as they felt happy, because job and income stability were their top priorities.

Two in five Malaysians surveyed also said that they are happy where they currently are and don‘t mind if their career does not progress. Gen Z (44 per cent) and Millennials (43 per cent) were found to make up the biggest numbers of people in this group.