Malaysians are optimistic about having a more inclusive workforce according to PERSOLKELLY’s latest Asia Pacific (APAC) Q1 Workforce Insights report. The report found that 98% of Malaysia respondents believe there are advantages in working with colleagues over the age of 55. In the survey, 88% also agreed to benefits in working with employees with disabilities or special needs. Both these numbers are higher than the APAC workforce average.

Themed “Challenging perceptions of an inclusive workforce”, the report indicates to 70% of Malaysia respondents who agree that senior workers should be allowed to work past their retirement age, as long as they are able to. This is driven by a belief that colleagues over the age of 55 years old are more experienced in their respective field and are more knowledgeable about the industry and the day to day work. Furthermore, one in two respondents had also suggested that these senior workers make good mentors, while 43% believed that they are better at resolving conflicts and handling adversity.

Applauding the Malaysian inclusive approach, Brian Sim, Managing Director and Country Head, Malaysia at Kelly Services said “As Malaysia becomes more developed and as our population grows, the number of workers above the age of 55 years also increases in tandem. Many who belong to this age group under- appreciate the value that they can bring to their workplace. Our findings reinforce this idea that age is not a barrier to performance and that Malaysians are open to working with older colleagues.”

Another key finding is that half of Malaysia respondents believe that employees with disabilities or special needs can provide an additional perspective to business challenges. In fact, one in three Malaysia respondents perceive them to being more loyal to the company and have a more responsible attitude. When asked what they believed to be the key drivers to employing people with disabilities or special needs, 54% indicated that having the right facilities in place such as workplaces designed to accommodate the needs of those with disabilities or special needs. The same respondents also indicated that support programs from the government will encourage the hiring of people with disabilities or special needs.

“The Malaysian disabled and special needs communities have long faced challenges in the employment landscape,” adds Sim. “Despite some of the concerns that employers might have, the value and abilities that these individuals can bring to a business should not be underestimated.”

Among the main concerns highlighted by Malaysia respondents in the report include health issues (51%) and the number of adjustments needed to accommodate an employee with disabilities or special needs. In terms of performance and fitting into the company, only 27% believed that they would underperform and 3% believed that they would not be able to fit in.

Similarly, 60% of Malaysia respondents are concerned about health issues among workers who are above 55 years old. Half of the respondents also believe that these workers tend to be more stubborn and closed-minded than younger workers. A mere 5% were concerned about the cost of hiring senior workers and 25% indicated concerns regarding the rate at which senior workers can learn new tasks or skills.

The report also looked into how Malaysians perceive mothers returning to work – only 38% of the respondents feels that mothers who return to work are less available. This is two percent short of the APAC average and is among the lowest among all the countries surveyed, suggesting that most Malaysians are optimistic about mothers returning to work.

PERSOLKELLY’s APAC Workforce Insights survey featured responses from more than 7,000 hiring managers and employees from twelve countries in APAC[1], and across a wide range of industries[2]. The PERSOLKELLY 2019 APAC Q1 Workforce Insights report can be downloaded here.


[1] APAC countries surveyed include: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, Taiwan

[2] Industries surveyed include: Industrial/Manufacturing/Trades, Banking & Financial Services, Professional Services, Transport/Logistics/Warehousing, High Tech/IT, Hospitality/Travel/Leisure/Retail, Medical/Health Care/Life Sciences, Accounting & Finance, Engineering, Government, Education, Science, Arts/Entertainment, Non-Profit, Agriculture/Natural Resources, Legal

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