No longer just about pay says PwC survey on what employees of the future want

8 June 2010

  • A better work-life balance is increasingly important
  • Flexible working is most valued benefit
  • Making a difference and corporate values are more important than the prestige of working for an elite company
  • Entrepreneurial spirit is strong although many do not feel the environment is conducive

In corporate Malaysia’s race to expand post-crisis, employers could be alienating employees as they ask their talent to do more with less and employee priorities change. Employers risk losing talent in the next decade, says PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) following a new survey.

Managing Tomorrow’s People, explores the work aspirations and expectations over the next decade of 5,000 professionals worldwide. 133 respondents were Malaysians. The results show that, while having vastly more responsibility with a salary to match is what most Malaysians (45%) want from their careers, over a third (36%) now desire better work-life balance. These results closely mirror the worldwide responses in a global trend towards value over pay.

Kartina Abdul Latif, Executive Director, PwC Advisory Services, Malaysia who heads the Human Resource Advisory team which advises companies on people management issues, believes that the global economic crisis and heightened socio-political awareness have changed the attitude of Malaysia’s workers.

“Malaysian companies are coming out of the crisis, racing to capture opportunities in the emerging markets, but are still focused on cost efficiencies as more volatility is expected in global conditions. Consequently, instead of hiring, existing employees are being asked to do more with less.

Our survey indicates that employees may be feeling the pressure, with large numbers of respondents hoping for better work-life balance in the future and a third choosing flexible-working arrangements as the most important work benefit other than salary.

Employers who push their workers to deliver more, without monitoring and reviewing the impacts, will end up hurting themselves. A disconnect between what employees want and what employers actually deliver could mean an exodus of the most talented over the next decade.”

Employees are no longer concerned merely about pay, and place emphasis on delivering value and working with companies with strong corporate responsibility ethos. The majority (43%) of those surveyed, say their jobs should allow them to make a difference in the world, and that their ideal employers are companies whose values match their own (44%). This was similar to the global results with 43% and 46%, respectively.

Having a powerful social conscience intrinsic to the organisation’s brand and a ‘green’ sense of responsibility will be critical for companies of the future. 42% (vs 41% globally) of employees felt that this was true compared to 32% (vs 35% globally) who said organisations would have to embrace technology and the power of social networking.

When they imagine their future working lives, more people picture themselves working in a virtual place, where employees log on from any location, than they do from centralised hubs in major city centres. Perhaps surprisingly, it is the 16-25 year old bracket alone where a majority imagine an ‘office block’ in a city centre as their future workplace.

Of interest to the Malaysian government is the fact that the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, particularly amongst women. 43% of women and 42% of men choose themselves as the ideal employer, as compared to the global sentiment where only 33% would choose themselves as the ideal employer. However, many Malaysian employees may not feel our environment is conducive to entrepreneurs with only 19% expecting to be self-employed specialists in the next decade.

The good news for employers is that most employees will remain loyal to organisations who can meet their expectations. The majority of those surveyed (54%) desire a career path in which they establish a mutual beneficial, long-term relationship with a major corporation, in which they acquire valuable experience across a variety of roles. This is higher than the global results where only 41% would indicate this as their preference.


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Managing Tomorrow’s People: Where will you be in 2020?

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