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By Melissa Norman

It was reported earlier this month that 66 percent of Malaysian knowledge workers have a  secondary source of income.
In addition, Malaysian knowledge workers have a clear preference for working remotely, specifically in a hybrid model; enjoying the benefits of both worlds. We  should also examine the other factors that contribute to these phenomena, apart from easing their  financial pressure: 

Employees lack the necessary tools and learning opportunities to develop and  upskill 

Many knowledge workers are frustrated by the lack of advancement opportunities in Malaysian companies. There may be a lack of investment by employers in their  employees’ futures. Training and development programmes are lacking in approximately  60 percent of Malaysian companies. Fewer than half of employers worldwide offer employees  learning opportunities to advance in the workplace, according to a global survey.  Surprisingly, employers don’t invest in their employee’s growth and development. The  retention rate of employees in companies that provide training and development  opportunities is higher. Having a structured learning and development programme is a  great opportunity for Malaysian employers to retain and keep their best employees. 

Workers believe it is difficult to find a well-paying and advancement-oriented job

The career opportunities for employees who have been employed by the same company  for several years may be limited. This is common in Malaysian companies, especially  among middle-management employees. Several factors may contribute to the lack of  growth and advancement opportunities. 

Some of these are:  

  • A lack of leadership and vision from the management; 
  • Employees are unable to develop the necessary soft skills and technical skills to move  up in the organisation; 
  • A lack of demonstrated competence among employees, especially when many  qualified candidates are vying for the same position; and 
  • An inability for employees to build good relationships with people who can promote  them within the company. 
Workers feel little sense of accomplishment at their current jobs because they have  little control over what they do 

It has been found that higher job satisfaction is associated with greater control over one’s  work. In Malaysia, about 60 percent of employees say they have little control over their work  assignments. The management style of managers may result in a lack of employee control  over their work assignments. As a result, employees have little opportunity to demonstrate  their knowledge and skills, resulting in them feeling that work is unimportant.

The majority of Malaysian may have degrees or certifications that cannot easily be  transferred to other sectors or jobs 

According to UNESCO, Malaysia has one of the highest adult literacy rates in the world.  Malaysia’s economy benefits from this, as it means employers can draw from a large pool  of potential employees. However, while Malaysian workers may have high levels of  education, their skills may not be easily transferable. Employees with degrees in  education or biology, for example, could have difficulty transferring their skills to tech or engineering jobs. 

Side gigs provide workers with new skills, enhance their resumes, and make them  more confident about finding better-paying jobs in the future 

Many Malaysian workers take up side gigs to gain new skills and build up their resumes.  This is especially the case with younger workers who are currently employed full-time in  their main jobs. Most side gigs allow workers to use the skills they already have but in  different or novel ways. This can help them to broaden their skill set and feel more  confident in searching for better-paying jobs down the road. 

In conclusion: Malaysian employers must learn to value and invest in their employees

If Malaysian employers want to retain their employees, they must value and invest in them.  Providing employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their jobs means  providing them with opportunities for growth and advancement. Employers can accomplish this  by implementing the following strategies: 

  • Hiring the right people. Understanding the skills and expertise you need for your  company will help you attract the right candidates; 
  • Establishing a culture of continuous learning and development. Providing your  employees with opportunities to learn and develop will help them advance professionally  and provide them with a sense of purpose; 
  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You can reduce stress and burnout for your  employees by proactively managing their work-life balance.  
  • Transparency and effectiveness in management style. Managers need to be  transparent in their decision-making, so their employees know how they are evaluated  and how to advance within the company. 

About the author: Melissa Norman is the founder and managing director of Aisling Group. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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