Career survey: Many looking to switch to civil service, defence

PETALING JAYA: The majority of Malaysians who want to switch careers are looking for employment in the civil service and defence, according to a recruitment company.

According to, about 12% of the 799 Malaysians surveyed chose those two sectors, while another 12% were keen to join the education sector.

About 9% were interested in joining the oil and gas as well as petroleum and power industry.

While 77% of Malaysians were looking for a job within their chosen field, nearly 87% said they would consider switching to another industry altogether, simply because they wanted to find “the best job”.

The biggest reasons for making a career switch, said, was the desire for a better salary and financial stability, followed by a lack of growth opportunities in their current industry.

For Malaysian professionals with over 15 years of experience, noted that other than financial gain, the desire to switch came from a need to do something more challenging and purposeful.

The desire to switch jobs also stemmed from the realisation that the changing nature of their industry impacts future job prospects.

“The cost of living in Malaysia has been steadily increasing over the past few years. At the same time, the latest Monster Employment Index shows that online hiring activity has shown negative growth for six consecutive months, suggesting fewer career opportunities in the market.

“Understandably, financial stability is a growing concern for Malaysians, and higher wages are a strong push factor for people to make career switches,” (Asia Pacific and Middle East) CEO Abhijeet Mukherjee said in a statement.

Millennials, he added, also had different priorities from previous generations, and as they advanced in the workforce, job fulfilment and purposeful work became more important factors.

“As a result, more Malaysians are more open-minded about a career switch, even if the majority still view it as a bold move.”

Despite accusations before the general election that Pakatan Harapan would reduce the number of civil servants if it came to power, the new government in July said it was not looking to trim the civil service despite the country’s challenging fiscal position.

But Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government was keen on improving the productivity of civil servants.

There are currently 1.6 million civil servants in the country.