More than one in two local respondents (58%) said that they have the intention to look for a job in the next 12 months, a local survey revealed.
The 2020 COVID-19 Labour Pulse Survey was commissioned by Randstad Malaysia and surveyed 531 of locally-based employees between 26 June 2020 and 5 July 2020. The study aims to understand the local workforce’s sentiments about the employment market this year and the challenges and experiences of job seekers thus far.
Career change and salary dissatisfaction are top reasons why employees are looking for a job
Of the 58% of respondents who intend to look for a new job, 24% said that they are looking to change their career or industry that they work in; 13% said that their skills and experience no longer meet their current job requirements, and 15% mentioned that they have been retrenched.
Ms. Jaya Dass, Managing Director, Malaysia and Singapore at Randstad said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has seen companies investing in building their digital infrastructure and network, leading to a great number of jobs being digitised or displaced as a result. Employees whose job responsibilities have been drastically altered to meet new demands may be motivated to join other companies where their skills and experience are still relevant. Some may even switch industries and careers altogether, and will look for job opportunities that are perceived to be more recession-proof or can provide a greater sense of job security, such as in healthcare and technology. We can expect to see more movements in the job market once the economy picks up and new job opportunities arise.”
Others have cited reasons related to salary for their intention to switch employers. 26% of respondents have reported taking a pay cut or a pay freeze either indefinitely or for a temporary period; 24% mentioned dissatisfaction with their current salary.
“National lockdowns and slowing international trades and exchanges have severely impacted companies’ financial confidence this year. A number of companies have implemented budgeting measures to keep operating costs and overheads low, and are working towards optimising operational efficiency with a leaner workforce. These cost management measures may result in uncertainty within the workforce, and employees may feel that the company is not financially stable enough to tide through this pandemic. To avoid being a collateral loss, some employees would choose to take the risk and join an employer that is seen to be more financially stable as soon as they can,” Dass added.
72% of respondents willing to take on professional contract or project-based jobs
Given the current labour market conditions, 72% of all respondents are willing to take on professional contract or project-based jobs. Out of the 28% who are not inclined towards taking on contracting roles, 70% cited the lack of job security and stability as reasons why they would rather wait for a permanent offer instead.
Dass explains, “Though contracting jobs are not what Asian talent usually would go for due to its perceived lack of job security and stability, many are starting to see it as a viable option during these trying times. With COVID-19, many have found themselves unable to safeguard their jobs and livelihoods and these temporary jobs offer some level of income stability to stay afloat, especially for adults who have recurring loans to pay off. As compared to being jobless, contracting jobs may actually provide more job security. Many contractors have also shared that they were able to secure a new contract even before their existing one ends, giving them continued employment. We strongly encourage candidates to exercise greater levels of flexibility and openness when looking for a job, as this will give us a chance to help improve the perception of the contracting landscape.”
“We’ve also observed more companies offering term-based or project-based roles to fulfill urgent skills and talent needs, to ensure business continuity while managing headcount costs. Contract roles can also offer mid-career switchers a chance to get their foot in the door to gain relevant skills and experience, especially if it’s in an industry or with a company they would like to build their career in. Given the current employment situation, people who have been retrenched may want to consider a contracting role as an opportunity to gain experience and acquire new skills that can help them stay employable. These candidates are also more likely to be able to renegotiate their salary once the market recovers, as opposed to those who halted their career development during the pandemic.”
The COVID-19 Labour Pulse Survey was conducted between 26 June 2020 and 5 July 2020 with 531 locally-based respondents.