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Malaysians prefer prestige over cash

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Prestige and rank trump salary and interesting work for the average urban Malaysian employee, as overall work happiness levels drop.

According to a recent survey by JobsCentral Malaysia, a majority of this same group of employees were also not satisfied with advancement opportunities at their current jobs.

The report required 3,508 Malaysian employees to rank factors of working life in order of perceived importance, and how satisfied they were with each of these factors in their current jobs. The factors were ranked on a scale of one (most important) to 10 (least important).

Based on the survey results, 19.1% of the respondents ranked “advancement opportunities” as the most important determinant of satisfaction in their current workplace, with a ranking of 4.65. This was followed by “salary” (5.27) and “interesting work” (5.30). These three factors have consistently remained as the most important factors for Malaysian employees in the last two years.

When rating their degree of satisfaction with their current situation, respondents placed advancement opportunities as the factor they were least satisfied with, scoring 5.41 out of 10; good relations with colleagues scored the highest at 7.34.

“Work happiness is an important factor that influences productivity and innovation,” Hee Kim Fah, CEO of JobsCentral Malaysia, said.

“Malaysian employees desire career advancement opportunities and salary, however, these factors are ranked at a lower satisfaction level. This shows a clear mismatch of expectations and reality.”

Other highlights from the survey showed executives and professional degree holders were among the unhappiest groups of employees in Malaysia, while events workers and technical workers were among the happiest.

But overall work happiness has declined, with the cumulative work happiness score coming in at 59.05 (out of 100) in 2013, compared to 60.4 in 2012.

Hee added: “In order to improve work happiness, employers would do well to address this issue. Perhaps, having an organisation structure with many layers, which will allow for more and faster promotions, may be the solution to this problem.”

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