Due to lack of better remuneration for talented professionals in Malaysia and considering the decreasing value of the ringgit, many Malaysian professionals are keenly considering relocation abroad for career growth prospects, better remuneration and benefits.
They are not only considering cross-over to Singapore for work, but are also tapping global market opportunities to work and serve economies of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong for better salary.
The depreciating value of the ringgit and higher salaries offered in other neighbouring counterparts has only made situations worse. Malaysian professionals, both skilled and semi-skilled workers are keenly looking for opportunities outside Malaysia to invest in their careers and seek better pay.
Unless companies in Malaysia are willing to compensate talent adequately and reward them with benefits for menial and unskilled jobs, talent retention will continue to be a major challenge. Many Malaysians commute to do jobs in Singapore – such as menial jobs of a cleaner and other lower-skilled jobs. Why not Malaysia?
Highly-skilled technical professionals are sought after by oil and gas industries in Singapore and the Middle East. Malaysian companies are at the losing end, since they have invested millions of ringgit in training their local workers, however foreign countries are the final beneficiaries of these efforts.
Attractive salary, benefits and remuneration package are some of the reasons why many of the highly-skilled professionals in the oil and gas sector in Malaysia prefer working overseas.
For instance, the monthly salary in Malaysia for a certified welder with a 6G certification working offshore starts at between RM4,000 and RM5,000 monthly. However the same person will get S$4,000 (RM11,900) and S$5,000 (RM14,900) in Singapore and US$10,000 (RM40,290), if he chooses to work in any of the oil producing Arab countries.
The only way to stop Malaysian talent from relocating abroad for better salary is to offer them better pay and benefits in the home country. This would facilitate talent retention and loss of skilled labour to other countries, who offer much lucrative perks and benefits to attract talent.
Former Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia president Teh Kee Sin said semi-skilled and skilled workers are leaving the country for better pay and employment benefits, even if it meant working dirtier jobs.
“The view that Malaysians are not willing to do work deemed difficult and dirty is not right as many of them are taking up such jobs in these countries.”
While the government to its credit has launched the Returning Expert Programme (REP) currently under TalentCorp to bring back talented Malaysians to their home country, it seems the initiative needs some fine tuning to woo professionals working abroad.
Started in 2001, the REP programme offers attractive living and financial incentives to encourage Malaysians abroad with special expertise in certain priority sectors to return and contribute to the nation’s development.
However, the program lacks offering ample amount of motivation to win professionals back. The Government should support creation of a conducive environment for professionals to learn and thrive, while contributing to the nation’s economy.