Europe a top pick for job-seekers – Survey

KUCHING: Europe has emerged as the most desirable destination for globetrotting Malaysian job-seekers, according to latest survey from workforce solutions provider, Kelly Services Inc.

PROSPECTS ABROAD: A worker fills cooking oil into large large plastic bottles at a packaging section of a local supermarket here. Sectorial-wise, Kelly Services’ survey sees those working in retail, services, FMCG industries and local government are the most prepared to shift countries for work by more than 50 per cent. – Bernama photo

The findings from Kelly Global Workforce Index, which obtained collective views of approximately 97,000 people in 30 countries – including more than 700 Malaysians – showed that Europe was the first choice as a working destination by a nomination figure of 36 per cent.

Being closer to home remained a second preference amongst Malaysian respondents with 34 per cent preferring to relocate within Asia Pacific, followed by the Middle East (nine per cent), North America (eight per cent) and South America (one per cent).

“Many skills that were once specific to a region or country are now able to be carried out in varied parts of the globe, meaning that job mobility becomes important for career advancement,” remarked Kelly Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s managing director Melissa Norman in an e-mail response yesterday.

Notably, the survey observed an equal percentage – about 45 per cent – of ‘Baby Boomers’ (aged 48-65) and ‘Gen X’ (aged 30-47) were prepared to travel abroad for the right job, followed by 40 per cent of those in the ‘Gen Y’ group (aged 18-29).

Interestingly, it also viewed that men were more willing to move than women.

“The desire to move to a different continent was driven by ‘the experience’ ratherthan setting up permanent residence, with 47 per cent prepared to stay for three years or less,” disclosed Melissa.

“In fast-growing sectors such as engineering and ICT, life sciences and green technology, as well as finance and healthcare, there is diverse global demand that can present personal rewards and career opportunities for those willing to travel,” she explained further.

Among various industry sectors, those working in retail, services, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries and local government were the most prepared to shift countries for work by more than 50 per cent, according to the survey.

On the other side of the ‘working abroad’ argument, most respondents mentioned ‘families and friends’ as overwhelming factors  preventing them from moving abroad for a job – 50 per cent of them cited this reason. The next stronger basis against job relocation was the cost of moving (32 per cent), followed by the language barrier (eight per cent) and cultural differences (five per cent).

Out of the 700 Malaysian respondents, Kelly Services found out that half were working in what they considered as ‘unconventional arrangements’ where the most common grievance was the long hours which affected 30 per cent of them. This was followed by having multiple jobs (23 per cent), working in unusual hours (17 per cent), going through excessive travel (14 per cent), and living away from home (12 per cent).

“Almost half, or 43 per cent of those working in such unconventional arrangements believed they could only continue doing so for up to one year. However, 20 per cent said they could sustain it ‘indefinitely’,” pointed out Melissa.

Concluding the survey, Melissa stressed that talent mobility should not be seen as a negative situation for organisations, “if it is managed well,” she underlined.

“If a talent is given opportunities for them to gain insightful global exposure and experiences to develop their skills, focus should be given into how a company can ensure that these talents will ultimately share their knowledge, experiences and skills with the younger workforce within the organisation through mentoring programmes.

“It could form part of the talent succession planning and strategic direction of an organisation, ensuring that it will have a continuous talent pool with the right skills to meet growing market demands,” Melissa said, adding that fast track programmes that involved overseas exposure had become popular among multinational companies as part of their development plan to sustain talent in a rapidly changing labour market.

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