Malaysia’s global attractiveness as a desired country for foreigners to relocate for work jumped by some 23 places in 2020, according to a collaborative study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, global recruitment company The Network and SEEK Asia which owns JobStreet.
Ranked number 42 in 2014 and 33 in 2018, the overall attractiveness of Malaysia to global workers surged to the 19th position last year, with Kuala Lumpur jumping from the 52nd (2014) and 42nd (2018) positions to place Malaysia’s capital at number 18 in 2020.
Countries where people would like to come to Malaysia to work were ranked as follows: Indonesia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Yemen, Thailand, China, Syria, Nigeria and Qatar.
“While most Asian destinations improved their rankings last years in terms of attractiveness for employment, Malaysia is a clear success story as an employment destination,” said SEEK Asia’s chief marketing officer Ramesh Rajandran (pic).
“The pandemic has proven to be a key factor that has drastically changed the way global talent think about employment preferences.”
SEEK Asia, the holding company of JobStreet and JobsDB, is today Southeast Asia’s largest employment marketplace.
The study, entitled ‘Decoding Global Talent’, was one of the world’s largest surveys to date with 208,805 respondents in more than 190 countries.
It theorised that Malaysia’s attractiveness as an employment destination in 2020 was due to much better management of the Covid-19 pandemic as compared to certain Western countries.
For Malaysia, some 5,649 respondents were surveyed, of which 48% were below 30 years of age, and 41% being ‘highly educated’ with Masters, PhD, Doctorate or equivalent degrees.
Malaysians now less willing to work abroad
Diving deeper into the local context, the study also shows that Malaysians are now less willing to work abroad, as compared to previous years.
JobStreet said that only 40% of Malaysian respondents expressed willingness to work abroad in 2020, as compared to 65% in 2018 and 67% in 2014.
The study attributed this sharp decline to restrictions and uncertainty due to Covid-19, particularly when it comes to travel, nationalistic policies in other economies, and the normalisation of virtual work setups.
Based on job sectors, Malaysian social care and human resources employees are the least likely to move abroad, with 21% and 24% unwilling to do so, respectively. This was followed by administration and secretarial, together with finance & auditing personnel at 34%.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, students (61%), Malaysians involved in digitisation and automation (56%) and media & information (52%) personnel were willing to relocate to another country for work purposes.
Singapore is the top destination of Malaysians who wish to work abroad, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan, respectively.
Meanwhile, some 53% of Malaysians indicated their willingness for remote employment with preferences for companies from the following countries: Australia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States and China.
Countries that list Malaysia as a top pick for remote employment were from Indonesia, Singapore, India, Thailand and Qatar.
“At our end, SEEK Asia together with our subsidiaries JobStreet and JobsDB shall continue seeking out the best talents for hirers, while also improving people’s lives through better careers and in securing ‘jobs that matter’,” said Ramesh.
“We fulfil this promise through offering the most opportunities for job-seekers and hirers to connect with one another, complemented by our best-in-class artificial intelligence (AI) matching technologies to achieve that ‘win-win’ equation.”
The full study can be viewed here.