Malaysians are confident in their skills; prepared to adapt and work harder

Over three quarters of Malaysians (78%) would prefer to work more to get ahead than reduce their hours for less pay, according to a recent Standard Chartered survey.

The survey found that Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted personal finances globally, with one-third (29%) in Malaysia already earning less and more than half expecting the pandemic to further affect their income and/or employment. 

The study of 12,000 adults across twelve markets – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, UAE, Kenya, Pakistan, the UK and the US – offers insights into their financial wellbeing and employment outlook in these challenging times, and how banks can play a role in helping them manage their money.

Standard Chartered Malaysia managing director and CEO Abrar A. Anwar said: “Malaysians in general have been hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic, with one third of them already earning less. 

Source: Standard Chartered

“Although they’re expecting their income and employment to be further affected, their confidence in their skills provides hope for the recovery. A majority of younger Malaysians have also expressed that they’re keen to start a new business or set up a second income stream in the wake of the pandemic but want to learn how to manage their finances better. 

“They must be supported. Banks have a role to play both by helping them manage their money and providing tools that make banking easier so they can focus on leading the way to recovery.”

Malaysia (83%) has one of the highest portion of people who want to better manage their money to make it go further. And while the Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the growth of online banking, with over half globally using online services more, the shift has been more apparent in fast-growing markets.

For example, the increase in the use of mobile devices for banking services in Malaysia is 66%. Fast-growth markets are also more likely to want their banks to help improve their confidence at managing money digitally as they increasingly look to bank online with 73% in Malaysia agreeing this would be helpful. 

There is one clear area of almost unanimous agreement; a global desire for more flexibility when it comes to working arrangements post-Covid-19. 

75% of Malaysians (71% globally) would prefer to continue working from home for at least two days a week once restrictions are lifted and 83% want more flexible working arrangements (77% globally). 

Most Malaysians are confident in their skills and prepared to adapt and work harder to realise opportunities in a post-Covid-19 world.

Globally, young people are particularly confident, with 80% of 18 to 34-year olds feeling they have the digital skills needed to thrive post-COVID-19. However, Malaysians of all ages are highly confident in their skills, with those aged 55 to 64 feeling most equipped (93%) compared to 77% of those aged 18 to 34. 

Yet, with many graduating or leaving school in the midst of a global recession, younger generations are more willing, or able, to adapt to the current circumstances. 79% of 25 to 34- year olds in Malaysia would set up a second income stream compared to 69% of those over 55; and 77% of 18 to 44-year olds would reskill compared to 63% of those aged 55 and above. 

Millennials and Generation Z are also more likely to respond to the crisis by starting a new business. 62% of Malaysians aged 18 to 44 would consider doing so in the next six months compared to 44% of those aged 45 and above.

Around the world, the level of flexibility, adaptability and entrepreneurialism tends to decrease with age, along with confidence, despite – or perhaps because – older generations are more established in their careers.

The divide is even more stark when comparing developed and developing markets. Those in established global economies are not only less confident they have the digital skills needed to thrive amidst the downturn, they are also less willing to adapt and take steps to increase their income.

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