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Michael Smith

Managing Director South/South East Asia

Jaya Dass

Country Director

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


The emergence of Millennials in the workforce yearning for work-life balance as well as media attention towards rising startups across the world has led to the apparent rise in preference for flexible small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and innovative startups. The Randstad Workmonitor research report has revealed that employees in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, however, still have a strong preference for large multinational corporations (MNCs).

Globally, 64% of employees stated an overall higher preference for SMEs when compared to MNCs and Startups. Employees in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia however bucked global trends, where we see an average of 75% of respondents preferring to work for big global companies.

Millennials across all three markets in particular exhibited a strong preference for MNCs. The survey revealed that on the average 81% of Millennials preferred to work for MNCs, compared to only 67% for SMEs and 60% for startups.

Millennials aged 18 – 34

Older employees, aged 35 to 54, in Singapore and Malaysia also mirrored this sentiment whereas those in Hong Kong highlighted a higher preference for SMEs.

Aged 35 – 54

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.” “Typically we have seen that 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. However, as these markets continue to mature, we are starting to see local SMEs 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,” added Mr. Smith.

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