Kuala Lumpur, 2 September, 2020 – More than nine in ten Malaysian workers are against a return to ‘normal’ working life, according to a new study released today by Skillsoft, a leading global provider of digital learning, training, and talent solutions to help organisations unleash their edge.
Based on a survey of 758 workers or people looking for work across Malaysia, Skillsoft’s report examined employee expectations in a post-COVID workplace and found that 94 percent want at least one COVID-19 practice adopted permanently in their day-to-day lives – the highest figure of the three Asia-Pacific countries surveyed (Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia).
On average only 6 percent of Malaysian workers are happy to return to how things were. Interestingly, this figure was even lower among those aged over 55 (just 3 percent).
· The top practices that Malaysian workers want to see introduced permanently are flexibility in their working hours (60 percent), working from home (55 percent) and increased family time (55 percent)
· 42 percent of respondents want more time spent on their physical and mental well-being.
· 40 percent are eager for a reduction in unnecessary work meetings.
· More than 1 in 3 (37 percent) hope for more online learning and professional development opportunities.
Job security and personal well-being in focus
The study further showed that Malaysia’s workforce appears more concerned about their own well-being at this time, with 31 percent of workers ranking health and safety as the number one issue they want business leaders to be prioritising.
Meanwhile, almost half of all Malaysian workers rank work/life balance (54 percent) and job security (47 percent) within their top 3 issues to be prioritised by business leaders. Only 14 percent rank innovation among their top 3.
Rosie Cairnes, Vice President, Skillsoft APAC, stated, “It’s very interesting to see the emergence of a more inward mindset among workers in Malaysia, in particular older workers who are warming to the workplace changes ushered in through COVID – whether it is deciding when and how to work, prioritising family time over work, concern for personal health, or taking charge of their own professional development. There is a resounding rejection of the old order.
“The COVID period has created a trend that extends beyond flexible workplaces, toward genuine self-care. For companies to reach the other side of this pandemic in a good place, employee well-being and wellness must become a permanent focus, not just something that gets addressed during a crisis.”
Gender balance and racial diversity on workers’ wish lists
The report also showed the top two issues the Malaysian workforce wants their employers to support the most are providing more learning and development around racial diversity (38 percent) and supporting equal maternity and paternity leave (34 percent). Young workers aged 18-24 years strongly support these measures (45 and 40 percent respectively).
Other policies that Malaysians would like their organisations to introduce are offering flexible work for parents of both genders (33 percent) and monitoring, reporting and working to close the gender pay gap (31 percent). Interestingly, one quarter (24 percent) of male workers would like to receive unconscious bias training.
“Globally the pandemic has brought many of society’s inequities to the fore, and in some cases given people of a taste of how things can work better, particularly in terms of caring responsibilities,” Ms Cairnes said.
“In Malaysia there is a strong push for policies and practices that promote greater gender and racial balance in the workplace – and this push is only going to grow louder as more young people enter the workforce. Organisations that rethink their hiring and policies and focus their future learning and development in these areas stand to benefit hugely in terms of available talent, employee engagement, and retention.”