• 85% of Malaysian employees would emigrate for a substantially higher salary
  • Australia is the most preferred foreign country to work in, followed by Singapore and Japan
  • 48% would rather switch careers than relocate to another country

29 OCTOBER 2019 - 90% of respondents in Malaysia would settle and work abroad for better career opportunities and work-life balance and 80% would want to work in a role that allows them to travel. Having an overseas exposure is important to workers, as they can gain different perspectives, learn new skills from their global counterparts and build a global network of connections.

more youths hoping to pursue greener pastures 

According to the latest Randstad Workmonitor Q3 results, having the opportunity to work in another country is an important factor for employees. Close to nine in 10 respondents (89%) aged between 18 and 34 are even willing to relocate to pursue a meaningful career.

Managing Director of Randstad Singapore and Malaysia, Ms. Jaya Dass said, “Young employees are highly-motivated and eager to learn new skills, meet new people and experience new encounters. Compared to senior professionals, they are also more willing to emigrate as many of them do not have family responsibilities yet and are focussed on their career development. If done with the right attitude, this drive can help them get promoted and take home a larger paycheck. However, these sentiments among the youths also mean that companies need to improve their employee attraction and engagement initiatives to avoid a possible ‘brain drain’, as Malaysia will need local talent to sustain its long-term economic growth.”

workers are willing to move if they can get higher pay and live a healthier life

90% of respondents are open to the idea of relocating if they can have both a meaningful career and good work-life balance. 85% would move for a substantially higher salary and 71% will do so if it means that they can keep their jobs with their current employers.

Countries near home, such as Australia, Singapore and Japan are voted as the top three choices for locally-based respondents to work in. Companies in these markets are perceived to be able to provide higher salaries and support healthier work-life initiatives. These markets also have better currency exchange rates, which is appealing to locally-based talent.

gaining global exposure important to workers in malaysia

85% of Malaysians are willing to relocate for a substantially higher salary whereas this factor does not seem as important to HongKongers (67%). While Hongkongers are not as willing to relocate for work, 87% of them want to work in a job that allows them to travel. This could indicate that the respondents are aspiring for regional roles or want to have the chance to be rotated for training and development programmes in other markets, while still being able to call Hong Kong SAR home.

Singapore-based employees are the most grounded of the bunch, as 58% would rather switch careers than move to another country.

“Local workers, especially from the younger generation, may be drawn to other economies because of the availability of higher-skilled jobs and better currency exchange rate. To curb this ‘brain drain’, it is critical for companies to keep up with the labour market changes and invest in their businesses and people as we make the fundamental shift to become a highly-innovative economy, which is prompted by the fourth industrial revolution. The more we embrace technology, the more skilled jobs there will be for our local talent. The shift will also create more training and development opportunities for the workforce to equip themselves with in-demand skills, particularly in new technologies. When this happens, the average salary benchmark will increase and workers will be able to negotiate for career progression and higher salaries,” Ms. Dass continued.

work mobility and job satisfaction in malaysia

21% of Malaysians changed employers in the past six months and 40% have showed interest in looking for a job. More than two in five (42%) said that while they are not actively looking for a job, they will be interested if an opportunity comes by.

ldquo;As more companies expand their presence in Asia Pacific, they will start to open offices in Malaysia which will create more job opportunities for the local workforce. Local talent equipped with in-demand skills will have the upper-hand to choose which companies they want to work for. Companies need to keep pace and ensure that they are doing enough to meet employees’ expectations on salary and benefits as well as career development and progression opportunities. When employees are having a positive experience, they will not only be more engaged and productive, they are also less likely to look for a new employer,” Dass added.

randstad workmonitor: Q3 2019

The minimum sample size for the Randstad Workmonitor survey is 400 respondents per market. The 2019 quarter three survey was conducted between July 18, 2019 and August 5, 2019.

media contact

Rena Tan, regional marketing and communications director



Alistar Lien, regional senior PR & communications specialist



past workmonitor studies:

about randstad workmonitor

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in 2003, and now covers 34 markets around the world. The study encompasses Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility visible over time.

The Workmonitor’s Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next 6 months, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. Besides mobility, the survey addresses employee satisfaction and personal motivation as well as a rotating set of themed questions.

The study is conducted online among employees aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per market. The Dynata panel is used for sampling purposes. The third survey of 2019 was conducted from 18 July until 5 August 2019.

about randstad

Randstad is the global leader in the HR services industry. We support people and organisations in realising their true potential. We do this by combining the power of today's technology with our passion for people. We call it Human Forward.

Our recruitment services range from regular temporary Staffing and permanent placements to Inhouse Services, Professionals, and HR Solutions, including Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Managed Services Programmes and outplacement.

Randstad has active operations in 38 markets around the world and has top-three positions in almost half of these. In 2018, Randstad had on average 38,820 corporate employees and 4,826 branches and Inhouse locations. In 2018, Randstad generated revenue of €23.8 billion. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, where options for stocks in Randstad are also traded.