Nearly 1 in 2 Malaysians Do Not Plan To Leave Their Jobs Anytime Soon Despite Feeling ‘Underpaid’
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 26 April 2022 – According to a recent iMoney Malaysia Income Satisfaction Survey 2022, 46.3% of Malaysians surveyed have no plans to leave their current employers ‘in the near future’, despite 57.7% of these individuals feeling ‘underpaid’ or are uncertain if they are paid at market rate.
With a sample of over 1,000 Malaysians with a majority residing in KL and Selangor, the survey aimed to explore income satisfaction among Malaysians in light of several factors resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Higher inflation and food prices in 2021 compared to previous years
- Work-from-home culture
See Wai Hun, iMoney CEO, says, “As income plays a significant role in a person’s financial wellbeing and goals, this survey helps us better understand what Malaysians need in terms of personal finance. This will help us improve our solutions to help Malaysians make better money decisions – be it through finding the best rates for financial products, free tools, or financial education.”
Job security and financial commitments among possible reasons
Commenting on the key finding, Wai Hun adds, “Having no plans to change jobs ‘in the near future’ despite feeling underpaid can imply several reasons. Firstly, most Malaysians we surveyed may value factors apart from monetary compensation. This can include anything from the flexibility of Work-From-Home arrangements to job security.”
“Secondly, the rising cost of living and financial commitments may be a contributor to people valuing job security over higher paying job opportunities, as new opportunities come with uncertainties and hence risks. For example, taking a higher paying job does not guarantee the same work-life balance or other factors you value in your current role. This could explain why a sizable segment of our respondents chose to keep their current job despite feeling underpaid”, says Wai Hun.
The third reason, according to Wai Hun, could simply be due to respondents already having enough income to support their current lifestyle – be it solely from the job, multiple income sources, or access to extra funds like special EPF withdrawals. “Feeling underpaid” then implies more of a desire for extra income instead of a need for it to survive.
Only 28.1% of employees have a side job despite feeling ‘underpaid’
Possible reasons for this disparity include reasons such as respondents already having enough income to sustain their current lifestyle, or a lack of time or opportunities.
While most cited ‘financial backup plan’ as the key reason for working an extra job, side gigs make up less than 10% of their monthly income. As Malaysian employees work at least 40 hours per week, this finding makes sense as there is little time left for a side job which usually pays proportionately to work delivered.
More than half (59.8%) prefer working from home
For those who prefer working from home (WFH), the biggest contributing factor was the time and money saved from not having to commute to the workplace. Up to a quarter of respondents also believed that WFH offered a better work-life balance compared to working from the office.
However, 73% will not consider taking any pay cut just to WFH. This could indicate several things, including:
- Malaysians still prioritize salary over work-life balance and convenience, if compelled to choose between both
- Malaysians believe they should be compensated fairly based on work delivered, regardless mode of work
Need for more tools and education to grow passive income
Commenting on the survey, Wai Hun said, “It is reasonably evident that Malaysians have aspirations for more income but may be limited by factors like job security, time, and commitments to pursue either better job opportunities or side gigs.”
“While exploring active income opportunities are important, perhaps a better long-term plan for Malaysians to grow their income is via passive means like investments. This is why iMoney has been improving our investment vertical and content to help Malaysians make better investment decisions – be it via simple product comparison, seamless application, and quality insights”, says Wai Hun.