Multinational companies (MNCs) are still the workplaces of choice for employees in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, a new study has found.
This is despite the emergence of millennials in the workforce yearning for work-life balance, as well as a rising preference for flexible small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovative start-ups across the world, the study said.
Conducted through an online questionnaire of 18- to 65-year-olds, the Randstad Workmonitor research found that 75 per cent of employees in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong prefer MNCs as their workplace over SMEs and start-ups, bucking a global trend of 64 per cent favouring SMEs.
In Singapore, 80 per cent of millennial employees - those aged 18 to 34 - preferred working for MNCs, while 70 per cent among 35- to 54- year-olds had the same choice.Malaysia showed the same preferences, but in Hong Kong, older workers preferred SMEs as employers.
The report shows that "work-life balance and job security are the two key factors that have been increasing in popularity in the recent past", said Mr Michael Smith, managing director of Randstad Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
MNCs have been able to successfully capitalise on their global brand and reputation, along with strong resources and company culture, to attract job seekers, Mr Smith said.
It also found that millennial employees across all three markets in particular exhibited a strong preference for MNCs. On average, 81 per cent of millennials preferred MNCs, to only 67 per cent for SMEs and 60 per cent for start-ups.
The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in the Netherlands in 2003 and now covers 34 countries and territories around the world, encompassing the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Americas.
Its Workmonitor Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures expectations surrounding the likelihood of changing employers within a six-month timeframe, provides a comprehensive understanding of job market sentiments and employee trends.
Besides measuring mobility, it also provides insights into employee satisfaction and personal motivation each quarter.
The study tracked only those working at least 24 hours a week in a paid job.
Mr Smith observed that as the markets continue to mature, local SMEs are adapting more quickly to agile work conditions, as is increasingly desired by employees to engage and attract better talent. "It will be interesting to see how sentiment towards working for SMEs and start-ups change as the regional economy recovers," he added.