A quarter of Malaysian employees are experiencing job insecurity
October 22nd, 2020, Kim Ho

A quarter of Malaysian employees are experiencing job insecurity

Seven in ten believe it will be hard to find another job in the face of unemployment

The pandemic has resulted in the world slipping into a global recession and mass unemployment – and Malaysia is no exception. Malaysia’s unemployment rate is currently the highest it has been in thirty years. YouGov surveys full-time workers in the nation, to find out how they are coping with job insecurity, and their attitudes towards unemployment.

Job insecurity refers to the fear of losing one’s job. A quarter (25%) of Malaysian employees feel insecure in their jobs, up 5 per cent compared to a pre-COVID era. One in twenty (6%) feel ‘very insecure’ and two in ten (19%) feel ‘somewhat insecure’. Two in ten (18%) feel neither secure nor insecure and almost three in ten (57%) feel secure in their jobs. Middle-income earners (monthly household income between RM 4,000 to RM7,999) are the most likely to feel secure in their jobs, whereas low-income earners (monthly household of less than RM 4,000 a month) are the least likely to say the same (64% vs. 53%).


The majority (92%) of employed Malaysians are experiencing some level of stress over losing their jobs – only a small percentage (8%) feel ‘not at all stressed’. Two in ten (23%) feel a little stressed, less than half (47%) feel somewhat stressed, and about a quarter (23%) feel very stressed. Unsurprisingly, those who are feeling ‘very insecure’ in their jobs are the most likely to feel very stressed – with over two in five (44%) saying so, as opposed to those who feel ‘very secure’ (14%).

In the event of losing their jobs tomorrow, seven in ten (71%) believe it will be difficult to find another one of similar pay and benefits – two in five (40%) think it’ll be ‘somewhat difficult’ and the other three in ten (31%) think it’ll be ‘very difficult’. About two in ten (18%) are indifferent, and the remaining 7% would find it easy. All income-groups appear to find it equally difficult to find another job. Three in ten (28%) believe they will be able to find a new job within three months should they find themselves unemployed tomorrow. Two in ten (18%) think this will be between three to six months and almost a quarter (23%) believe this will be between six months to a year. One in seven (15%) think it will take longer than a year to find another job, and the remaining one in seven (15%) are unsure.

In the same circumstance of losing their jobs, two in ten (41%) of Malaysian employees say they would be willing to take a pay cut of up to 20% to find another with a similar position. Two in ten (20%) are willing to take a pay cut between 21 to 40%, and over one in ten (13%) are willing to take a pay cut of more than 40%. Low-income earners are the most willing to take a pay cut of more than 40%, and high-income earners are the least willing (15% vs 4%). A quarter (26%) are unwilling to take any sort of pay cut. Men are also less willing to take a pay cut than women (23% vs. 29%).

***Results based on 665 Malaysians employed in full-time jobs surveyed on YouGov Omnibus