1 in 3 People in Malaysia, Southeast Asia & Hong Kong are Looking for a New Job; 2023 Remains a Jobseekers’ Market

Despite a possible economic slowdown, 2023 remains to be a jobseekers’ market in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong – including Malaysia – according to SEEK, the parent company of Asia’s leading online employment marketplaces JobStreet and JobsDB. This is backed by findings from a new study, titled “What Job Seekers Wish Employers Knew: Unlocking the Future of Recruitment”, released by SEEK, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of recruitment websites which SEEK’s JobStreet and JobsDB are a part of.
The study – which surveyed 97,324 respondents in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – found that 34% of talent surveyed are actively looking for a new job. The top three motivations for searching for a new job are: looking for a more interesting position or higher seniority (49%), lacking opportunities for upward career progress at current place (30%) and unsatisfied with salary and benefits at current job (27%).

Talent feel confident to look out for new opportunities despite fears of recession as majority surveyed are aware of their attractiveness to employers. In fact, the study found that 74% of talent around the region are approached multiple times per year about new job opportunities — and 36% of those are approached every month.

In Malaysia, these numbers are equally high at 67% and 25% respectively. In addition, 70% of the region’s respondents and 69% of Malaysians feel that they are in a strong negotiating position when looking for a job.

Findings – The Malaysian Context

In Malaysia, the study found that 1 in 3 employees are willing to try different careers by reskilling to new professions, approximately 5% more than the regional average.
Top 3 most coveted talent (based on the percentage of respondents who are approached frequently with job opportunities) are in the areas of:
  • Information Technology
  • Digitisation, data science and artificial intelligence, and
  • Education, such as teachers and trainers.
Some 61% of Malaysians also expressed their preference for hybrid working models, translating to 7% higher than the global average.

Peter Bithos, Chief Executive Officer, Asia, SEEK, commented on the findings, “When faced with a possible recession, the balance of power in the labour market tends to shift towards employers as hiring tightens. However, we believe the situation is different this time as many organisations in Asia are still recovering from the jobs lost during the pandemic. While hiring growth may slow down during times of uncertainty, there is no doubt that it is still a jobseekers’ market right now, and so it’s important for employers to know how to attract, recruit and retain talent.”

The survey also reveals that those working in IT roles are the most coveted talent not only in Malaysia but also across Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore, as they are frequently approached with job opportunities on a weekly and monthly basis.

“Despite the waves of layoffs by tech companies in the region and around the world, the demand for tech talent still remains based on the report’s findings. This is consistent with SEEK’s observation of a 29% YoY (2021 vs 2022) increase in job ads for tech roles in the region, based on data from our JobStreet and JobsDB platforms,” added Bithos.​​

Talent’s Top Priorities

Most respondents (71%) to the study said that they desire, above all, a stable job with a good work-life balance. This preference is dominant across job roles, countries, and age groups.

This is in line with jobseekers’ deal breakers​ when​ looking for a new role, with 17% citing work-life balance as a deal breaker, ranking second only after financial compensation (22%). The amount of paid time off and job security is also important to jobseekers, with both categories ranking third.

Sagar Goel, Partner and Associate Director at BCG, commented, “People’s expectations towards work have changed radically in the past few years. Most jobseekers don’t want to live to work anymore – they want to work to live. Employers must understand that while a high salary may be a way to raise the attention of in-demand talent, money is not enough to retain them on the long run. A culture that supports work-life balance, allows for flexibility, and emphasises good workplace relationships is equally important.”
Vic Sithasanan, JobStreet Malaysia’s Managing Director

Vic Sithasanan, JobStreet Malaysia’s Managing Director said: “The Malaysian Government has been visionary in introducing the Malaysia Digital (MD) strategic initiative to encourage and attract companies, talents and investment while enabling Malaysian businesses and the rakyat to play a leading part in the global digital revolution and digital economy. MD is set to be a strong growth engine for Malaysia with the Digital Economy set to contribute 25.5% of our country’s growth domestic product (GDP) by 2025 from the current 22.6%.

“The continued focus on digital and technology skills is set to continue. Employers that want to attract great talent with the skills that their businesses require must cater to these changing needs – including prioritising work-life balance and flexibility through hybrid work models. (As mentioned earlier, 61% of Malaysians prefer hybrid work models – 7% higher than the global average.)”

Ideal Hiring Journey

The survey also debunked and proved several recruitment myths and gave insight into what jobseekers want in their recruitment journey, for instance:

A smooth and timely process is the number one way for an employer to stand out during recruitment (67%), as 49% would refuse an attractive job offer if they face a negative experience.

Recruitment platforms are the top channel used when applying for a job. Meanwhile, the best way to raise interest when someone is not looking for a job comes from a recommendation by a friend. Once they are interested, most will look for further information through social media and company websites.

​​​Advanced digital tools are not favoured even among the young generation. Many prefer to see personal interactions during the recruitment process, with only 24% stating they would be comfortable participating in an AI-led automated interview.

The report also provided recommendations on how employers can improve the recruitment process and the total offer to candidates, including: how to overcome their biases to increase their talent pool, calibrating their approach to different personas, getting culture fundamentals right, and more.

For more information on the reports in Asia, they can be found here for Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines or please visit: https://www.jobstreet.com.my/en/cms/employer/case-study/what-jobseekers-wish-employers-knew/
On the other hand, Minister of Youth and Sports Hannah Yeoh has launched SEEKscapes by JobStreet, an innitiative aimed at empowering Malaysian youths to realise their fullest potential and discover their purpose through sustainable careers in fun and engaging ways on 4 Mar 2023.
SEEKscapes by JobStreet also graced by the talks featuring speakers such as En. Mazlan bin Mohamed, Senior Assistant Director from the Ministry of Youth & Sports, Dr. Jason Leong, Malaysia's very own medical doctor who is now a Worldwide comedian with two Netflix comedy specials, Pete Chareonwongsak, CEO of Teleport, Caroline Wee, VP Brand & Strategy of Tealive, Ungku Liza, CEO of Boost Life (Boost), David Leung, VP of Hotel Operations at Genting Malaysia, AI Irwan Fikri, Training Manager of Sports Direct, and Woie Hern, Head of Creative APAC of VAYNERMEDIA who has been in the advertising game for over two decades and more.

SEEKscapes by JobStreet
Date: 4 & 5 Mar 2023
Time: 10am to 8pm
Venue: Warehouse 1, Workshop 1, KL Sentul Depot

Admission is FREE and do RSVP and stand to win tickets to Japan! Register now and find out more details at https://www.jobstreet.com.my/SEEKscapes

Come discover new opportunites and unlock your fullest potential at this Must Visit event for youth!

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