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Malaysian professionals more likely to say 'yes' to the boss: LinkedIn survey

AvantiKumar | May 6, 2015
In Southeast Asia, Malaysian professionals are least vocal at work compared to those in Singapore and Indonesia, says LinkedIn's Cliff Rosenberg.

Clifford Rosenberg, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand 

Photo -  Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand at LinkedIn.


According to online professional network LinkedIn's recent study, professionals in Malaysia are more likely to give "face" to their bosses by doing as they are told with almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Malaysian professionals suggesting they are "yes" employees, compared to the global average of 43 percent.

LinkedIn's New Norms @Work study also showed that in Southeast Asia, Malaysian professionals are least vocal at work, compared to those in Singapore (where 50 percent said they were not "yes" employees) and Indonesia (64 percent), said Cliff Rosenberg, managing director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand at LinkedIn.

Rosenberg said that whether or not professionals consider themselves a "yes" employee- 'someone who does as they are told and is less likely to question authority - varies across generations in Malaysia. Professionals with more years of experience are more likely to challenge or question the status quo compared to millennials. This suggests that professionals in Malaysia gain more confidence to speak up with age and experience.'

He said the study results also showed that:

- 44 percent of professionals aged 55-65 years old regard them as "yes employees" compared to 83 percent of 18-24 year-olds
- 56 percent of 55-65 year olds say they will challenge their bosses by voicing their opinions or sharing ideas, compared to only 35 percent of 18-24 year-olds

"Harnessing the diversity of opinions in any organization goes a long way towards strengthening the quality of decision-making," said Rosenberg. "Employers may want to create an environment where their Malaysian employees feel more comfortable with speaking up, either to challenge the status quo or simply voice their opinions."

 Social media and work

He said that as the use of social media becomes more pervasive in the workspace, LinkedIn's research suggested that professionals in Malaysia are using social platforms to keep in touch with colleagues online and showed that:

- 41 percent of respondents in Malaysia are friends with colleagues on personal social networks
- More than 56 percent of Malaysian professionals accept LinkedIn connection requests from their colleagues to get to know them better on a professional basis.
- Regarding a colleague's professional profile, 78 percent of Malaysian professionals are most impressed by a colleague's work experience, well above other areas such as their education history or volunteer experience - revealing how much weight Malaysians place on having a strong career track record.

"Professionals need to keep their online profiles current, so they can be connected to even more opportunities. Another great way to get noticed is to regularly share professional insights on global platforms like LinkedIn," added Rosenberg.

In addition, an online professional profile with a picture is increasingly an asset when it comes to making a good first impression, he said.  Professionals on LinkedIn working in the recruiting, fashion, luxury goods and hospitality industries tended to change their profile pictures more often than average. Not surprisingly, millennials change their pictures most often, making them the most viewed demographic on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn's study revealed that over one quarter (27 percent) of Malaysian professionals make an initial impression based on someone's online profile picture, revealing the importance of having the right image in the market. The results in neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia were very similar, contrasting strongly with the western markets of the UK and Germany, where it is regarded as far less important.

 Truth in resumes

The study also found that 1 in 5 (20 percent) professionals in Malaysia said if they got fired from a job, they would remove that job experience entirely from their CV/LinkedIn profile, while more than 1 in 5 (22 percent) would avoid mentioning it at any cost, said Rosenberg.

The survey also revealed that neighbouring Indonesia placed a heavier weight on transparency with half of all respondents saying they would be completely honest about their termination.

A global comparison of the 19 countries that participated in the study found that the value placed on one's professional brand was similar from country to country with some differences across markets:

-  Globally, more than a quarter of professionals reported feeling motivated when their colleagues discuss workplace successes. In Malaysia, the figure is substantially higher at 48 percent - a testament to the country's strong sense of community and camaraderie.
- Across markets, one quarter of all respondents agreed that women get judged more for what they wear at work, compared to more than one third (38 percent) of professionals in Malaysia.
- In India, one quarter of full-time working professionals reported wearing a suit or formal dress to work the most frequently, compared to only three per cent of their counterparts in Sweden. Yet, in Malaysia, over half (52 percent) dress smartly to feel more professional at work.
- Indonesia has the highest number (51 percent) of professionals who think most carefully about their professional profile picture, compared to only 4 percent in Japan.
- Professionals are speaking up globally. When asked the one thing they would do now compared to when they started their careers, more than half of professionals worldwide reported that they would challenge their boss by voicing their opinion, challenging ideas, etc. This is the same in Malaysia as well, with 50 percent saying they would have spoken up more when they first started.

In April 2015 LinkedIn partnered with Censuswide to survey more than 15,000 full-time professionals around the world. Respondents between the ages of 18-66+ were surveyed in 19 countries including the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


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