Ageism a key barrier to work opportunities for Malaysians: LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, has launched LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020. The Index is a composite measure that seeks to understand how people perceive opportunity and more importantly, the gaps in getting to those opportunities.

The research surveyed over 30,000 respondents in 22 markets globally, including 1,050 in Malaysia. Overall, Malaysians have a relatively positive outlook on the local economy, and are more optimistic in relation to developed markets such as Singapore, Australia and Japan. Gen Z and Millennials fuel the drive for optimism and confidence to gain access to opportunities.

The research found that Malaysians’ long-term pursuit of good quality of life is ultimately defined by “good health”. However, at the moment, career and life goals are of utmost importance to them. Specifically, Malaysians are most keen on opportunities that allow work-life balance and greater financial independence.

Boomers and Gen X seek better health and secure finances for the future, while Millennials and Gen Z prioritise a stable job. But the pursuit of these opportunities are hindered by “opportunity gaps” or barriers to opportunities like today’s difficult job market, lack of financial resources and people’s age.

Multigenerational workforce presents new opportunities
Interestingly, age manifests as different opportunity gaps for other age groups. While the youths in Malaysia feel more optimism to succeed in the workforce, Gen Z (40%) and Millennials (21%) are held back by a lack of work experience. At the same time, Boomers (45%) and Gen X (33%) feel that age is a significant barrier to opportunities, as they struggle to keep up with technological and automation changes.

“For the first time, four generations are working together. It’s time for businesses to set aside hiring biases against age, and embrace the multigenerational workforce as an opportunity,” said Olivier Legrand, Managing Director, LinkedIn in Asia Pacific.

“The biggest skills gaps that we see today are soft skills among Gen Z and Millennials, and tech skills among the older generation. We encourage companies to hire for complementary skills and to promote collaboration and bi-directional mentorship among their workforce.”

“This is also a journey that we are working through at LinkedIn because we believe that a multigenerational and diverse workforce is a business advantage and driver of growth,” added Legrand.

Olivier Legrand, Managing Director, LinkedIn in Asia Pacific

Malaysians value education and the opportunity to gain new skills Malaysians feel that working hard and the willingness to embrace change are key to achieving better opportunities. However, 77% of Malaysians also believe that education is important to get ahead in life.

It is therefore not surprising to see that 31 per cent of Malaysians – the highest in Asia Pacific – are looking for opportunities where they can learn a new skill or technology. This suggests an appetite to elevate themselves in the workforce and to compete more efficiently.

LinkedIn commissioned independent market research firm, GfK to conduct this study between September and October 2019. The survey was conducted among 18 to 65 year olds across 22 countries via online interviews.

The survey had more than 30,000 respondents:
● North America: Canada, United States
● Latin America: Brazil, Mexico
● Middle East: United Arab Emirates
● Europe: France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, United Kingdom
● Asia Pacific: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore

Age groups were classified as:
● Gen Z (18 – 22 years old) 1998 – 2002
● Millennials (23 – 38 years old) 1982 – 1997
● Gen X (39 – 54 years old) 1966 – 1981
● Boomers (55 – 65 years old) 1955 – 1965

LinkedIn Opportunity Index measures a market’s level of confidence with regards to the economy and the pursuit of opportunity and uses “100” as the baseline score. A higher score represents greater optimism from respondents living in a specific country.

The seven factors that contributed to a composite measure of opportunity were the same as LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2018, and are as follows:

Perceptions around socio-economic and lifestyle factors
● Outlook on economy over the next 12 months
● Outlook on respondents’ financial situation over the next 12 months
● Quality of life specifically happiness
● Quality of life compared to previous generation/parents

Perceptions around opportunity:
● Availability of in-market opportunities
● Assessment on accessibility of opportunity over the next 12 months

● Confidence in achieving success
This survey was fielded from September to October 2019 and represents the world-view of survey respondents at that time.

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