For many working people in Malaysia, getting a job overseas represents a very good personal and career move.

According to a recent JobStreet.com survey, 55% of those in white collar positions said if given the opportunity, they would say yes to work overseas. In contrast, a similar JobStreet.com survey conducted on Singaporeans white collar workers showed 88% were open to overseas work opportunities.

For the Malaysians  who said that they would like to work abroad, 36% surveyed said it is to enhance their working exposure, 29% would do it for better salary and living conditions, while 18% said it would be to experience a different culture. Those in manager and senior manager positions also felt that they could provide better education for their children while working abroad.

When asked which countries they would prefer to work in given the opportunity, the United Kingdom was the first choice, followed by Australia, Europe, Singapore, Korea and Japan.

“Living abroad is a challenging experience. I will have to adapt to a new culture and a new way of life, but I hope to become more independent and gain strength of character. Working overseas can give me great benefits which I feel I am not able to find in Malaysia,” said one of the fresh graduates surveyed. 

From the survey, 96% intend to return home, stating family as the main reason for returning home, validating the fact that working abroad was for financial rewards or career reasons and not for migration. The survey also showed that seven and a half years is the ideal number of years to be working abroad to achieve their desired goal. In contrast, a majority of Singaporeans who answered this question said not more than five years would be the idea length of time.

Note: A total of 3,347 employees in Malaysia participated in this survey, of which 19% are managers and senior managers, 24% are senior executives, and 57% are junior executives and fresh graduates.