Despite the apparent rise in attention towards innovative startups and flexible small to medium enterprises (SMEs), a majority of Malaysians still prefer to work for large multinational corporations (MNCs).

According to the Randstad Workmonitor research report, 84% of employees in Malaysia preferred to work for MNCs, compared to SMEs (70%) and startups (60%).

A similar trend was seen in Singapore where 73% of respondents preferred to work for MNCs, compared to SMEs (63%) and startups (57%).

In Hong Kong, an equal percentage of respondents wanted to work for MNCs and SMEs (71%), but only 53% preferred startups.

However, globally, 64% of employees stated an overall higher preference for SMEs when compared to MNCs (55%) and Startups (50%).

Randstad Workmonintor


Breaking the respondents down by age group, Millennials across all three markets in particular exhibited a strong preference for MNCs.

Almost nine in 10 (87%) of Millennials in Malaysia revealed they prefer working for MNCs. Their peers in Singapore (80%) and Hong Kong (78%) mirrored the sentiment.

Randstad Workmonintor (Millennials)


When it comes to older employees (aged 35 to 54), those in Singapore (70%) and Malaysia (81%) also mirrored this sentiment, whereas those in Hong Kong highlighted a higher preference for SMEs.

Randstad Workmonintor (older employees)


Managing director for Randstad Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, Michael Smith noted: "Our Employer Branding Research report has shown that work-life balance and job-security are the two key factors that have been increasing in popularity in the recent past. It’s not surprising that many employees in the region are turning towards MNCs which tend to place more emphasis on these important employer branding aspects."

Smith observed that typically, MNCs, especially in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, tend to be the dominant employers in their respective markets.

"They have been able to successfully leverage their global brand and reputation, along with strong resources and company culture, to attract job-seekers," he explained.

However, he added that as these markets continue to mature, local SMEs are starting to adapt quicker to the agile work conditions increasingly desired by employees to engage and attract better talent.

"It will be interesting to see how sentiment towards working for SMEs and startups change as the regional economy recovers,” Smith said.

Infographic - MNCs still employers of choice in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia

Photo / 123RF