By June Ramli
One year on and the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc, especially in the job market.
A recent study commissioned by LinkedIn found that about six out of 10 Malaysians had been adversely affected by the pandemic resulting in pay cuts, a challenging job search or reduced working hours.
This has likely led to a less optimistic economic outlook amongst Malaysians, with only one in five expecting the economy to improve in the next six months and even fewer expecting their financial situation to improve over the same period.
Despite the bleak economic outlook, there were some positives with many Malaysians seeking new opportunities including starting their own business.
The study also found that one in four Malaysians was ready for a new career challenge.
LinkedIn had commissioned the research to an independent market researcher GfK, and the survey was carried out this January 26-31.
About 10,000 respondents between the ages of 18 to 65-year-olds from Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore participated in the online survey.
“About a year on since COVID-19 hit us, many continue to struggle from job loss and job instability.
“Yet it is heartening to see that people have also turned their focus towards helping the community”, said LinkedIn’s Asia-Pacific Vice President of Talent and Learning Solutions Feon Ang in a statement.
Learning new soft skills — including creative thinking, problem-solving and effective communication — was ranked as the first learning opportunity people were looking for in Malaysia, and this was sought after more by Gen Z, students and career starters.
While hard skills such as business analytics, artificial intelligence and cloud computing ranked second.
The survey also found that the work from the home model adopted by 78 per cent of Malaysian companies was a saving grace for the womenfolk who felt satisfied with the current arrangements compared to men.
While working from home posed challenges that resulted in poor productivity, the study found an overwhelming majority were worried about COVID-19 affecting their health especially if they were to return to an office environment.
As a result, the survey found that half were willing to work from home (wfh), about one to two times a week and one-third expressed the desire to wfh to about three to four times a week.
The study found that with the increase in remote work, organisations needed to look after the well-being of their employees by encouraging work-life balance.
The rise in remote work was also likely to encourage more women to re-enter the workforce, as the flexibility will allow them to juggle work and family responsibilities better.