Two in five Malaysians might quit if required to work more in office: Randstad

KUALA LUMPUR: Work flexibility remains a hot topic among Malaysian talent four years after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest survey by Randstad, the world's largest talent agency, that two in five Malaysians are willing to resign if required to work more frequently in the office. 

This trend is particularly strong among younger generations, with nearly half of Gen Z (49 per cent) and millennials (47 per cent) opposed to inflexible work arrangements.

Compared to six months ago, 52 per cent of Malaysians said that their employers expect them to be in the office more, 17 per cent higher than the global average. 

Fahad Naeem, country director at Randstad Malaysia, said flexibility in the workplace should encompass all aspects, including diverse work arrangements that promote equity. 

"Despite local employers establishing stricter office attendance requirements, an equitable understanding of flexibility and diversity recognises that the employee experience extends beyond where and when they work." 

According to a study, two in five Malaysians have made life changes, such as relocating or getting pets, in anticipation of continued flexible work options after the pandemic. 

Notably, 51 per cent of Gen Zers and 47 per cent of millennials have made such adjustments to their personal lives.

"During the pandemic, many people discovered they could work just as effectively, or even better, from home. This has shifted their perceptions of office-based work, making long commutes and expensive rent less appealing. 

"As a result, job seekers are becoming more vocal about their expectations and are even rejecting higher-paying positions that require daily office attendance," Naeem said.

Despite the rise of remote work options, 86 per cent of respondents prefer working from the office at least three days a week. 

The survey revealed that 14 per cent of Malaysians would prefer to work from the office for less than two days a week.

While talent in Malaysia expects work flexibility, the reality is different. 

"One in two respondents indicated that their employers have introduced mandatory five-day office work policies. Only nine per cent work less than two days a week in the office," Randstad said.

Additionally, one in 10 respondents said that their employers do not have any flexible work policies in place. 

"Flexible work arrangements not only benefit employees by enhancing work-life balance and autonomy but also have significant advantages for employers," Naeem said.

"By offering these options, organisations can expand their talent pool to include individuals like persons with disabilities and caregivers. This fosters equal opportunities, expands the workforce, elevates employee skills, and contributes to economic growth."

He added that in addition to flexible work policies, employers have a range of initiatives available to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

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