6 things Gen Z’ers look for in Jobs in Malaysia

OK let’s get things out of the way first, more often than not, millenial can get confused with those of the Gen Z group, so let us further clarify. Those who classify as Gen Z are people born between 1996 and 2019 and those who are Millennials are born between 1981 and 1995. 

But besides their ages, there are also other key differences between the two generations when it comes to their job prospects and preferences in Malaysia. We go over them in the section below

Gen Z vs Millennials

Jobs in Malaysia
Source: HR Digital Today
  • Industries: Most Gen Z’ers in Malaysia seek jobs within healthcare, social services, government and business. Millenials on the other hand are similar to the prospects of Gen Z, but IT is also prevalent in their selected industries.
  • Jobs: Arts, design and media-based occupations have more Gen Z’ers than Millennials and they are more likely to select jobs that involve these. Gen Z’ers are less likely to pick business as a college major, but they outperform in numbers when it comes to choosing sales occupations. Millennials on the other hand are more likely to be found in occupations in education, training and finance. 
  • Job Benefits: Both Gen Z’ers and Millennials expect, at minimum, medical insurance, paid vacations and funding for retirement. Both groups  also look for maternity and paternity benefits along with repayments to any student loans. However, Gen Z’ers might seek tuition reimbursement.
  • Career Development: When it comes to working and developing their careers, both groups look into factors such as salary and work-life balance. However, Gen Z’ers are more focused on the factor of what their job duties are, whereas Millennials look for any opportunity to grow their careers. 
  • University: Compared to Millennials, many Gen Z’ers would’ve skipped university and started their career with a diploma in their hand, rather than a degree. Many entry level jobs and most internships require at least a highschool diploma. It is also because Gen Z’ers would prefer to avoid being in debt due to university so early into their professional life. But do note that not all Gen Z’ers would skip college, some do enroll and come out with a degree.
  • Lone Wolf: Most Gen Z’ers prefer to work alone and achieve things by themselves rather than work in a team.
  • Less Focused: Compared to Millennials, Gen Z’ers tend to have a shorter attention span as the average attention span of a Gen Z individual is around 8 seconds, whereas the attention span of the average Millenial is around 12 seconds.
  • Willingness to Bring Up Issues: Gen Z’ers tend to be more vocal about things that don’t make them happy, so, if the life in the workplace is giving them issues, you can bet that they will bring it up.
Jobs in Malaysia
Source: Marketing Magazine

In Malaysia, there are more Gen Z’ers graduating from highschool or college and entering the job market either as interns or full-timers. Companies will now have to cater to the various needs of Gen Z’ers in order to make their workplace attractive for them to apply.

If a company still practices the same kind of workflow and recruitment tactics to that of a firm from the 1990s or early 2000s, they will find a lack of Gen Z’ers applying for positions in that company. Unless that is what they want, this issue may of course pose a threat as there will be more Gen Z’ers who will start working and by not willing to change means that company in question may lose a good chunk of potential candidates to fill their workforce.

So to prevent losing potential future employees, what can companies consider? For starters, as said before, they should consider what Gen Z’ers look for in a job position. These include:

#1. Money (Who Wouldn’t?) & Job Security in Malaysia.

jobs in Malaysia
Source: 123RF

We will start with the most important and most obvious thing a Gen Z wants from a job. And that is cash money. In our economy and society for that matter, cash is king as they say. But cash not just for buying lovely things to fill materialistic needs, no no, there are bills to pay, rent, food. And Gen Z’ers, like the generations before them, need cash to survive and live decently. So unless a Gen Z’er goes to an unpaid internship knowingly, they expect companies to keep their end of the bargain and pay them the amount stated in the contract every month. 

There is already decent competition when it comes to salary, not to mention that wages are already increasing as a whole, so companies will need to promote attractive rates in order to garner the attention of the job seeking Gen Z’er. In addition to an attractive entry-level salary, Gen Z’ers may also appreciate if there was some incentive given within the salary that helps with their student debt if they have any. 

But alongside money, Gen Z’ers also need that job security to obtain said paycheck. While they may seek to make a difference and build themselves a proper career, survivability and a stable income supersedes these other needs for Gen Z’ers.

#2. Lifestyle Benefits.

jobs in Malaysia
Source: Alpha Graphics

With social media giving us a platform to share our lifestyles and how society has become more health conscious, Gen Z’ers are evident of this change. So companies can use this to perhaps increase their attraction or job satisfaction for Gen Z’ers by offering up things like gym memberships or badminton events after work, etc. Sometimes, you can offer them entry into courses which can help them increase their skills as some Gen Z’ers are willing to pick up something which may benefit them.

Aside from gym memberships and so on, a company alters the logistics of an office to ensure that employees are not just fed junk food. Stocking the pantry areas with healthy snacks can be attractive to those who are health conscious, office design can also be changed up to ensure that all staff are comfortable, not just the Gen Z’ers. Good natural lighting and ergonomic appliances and equipment are a good start. And when it comes to Gen Z’ers, they are more vocal on these kinds of issues than previous generations.

Some companies may see these as being unnecessary and perhaps a waste of money, but by ensuring the wellness of their employees’ physical and mental health, they can function properly and not be sick all the time where they need to be absent. Healthy employees are key to good employees.

#3. Paid Time Off

jobs in Malaysia
Source: Travel Pulse

Paid leave is a need for all generations, not just Gen Z’ers. If a company offers generous paid leave, they are more likely to attract top talents. But bare in mind, companies in Malaysia still need to give paid leave regardless as required by law.

In Malaysia, within Section 60E(1) of the Employment Act 1955, employees who have worked less than 2 years in a company are entitled to no more than 8 days of paid leave per year, employees who have worked more than 2 years are entitled to no more than 12 days per year and for those employees have been with a company for more than 5 years, they are entitled to no more than 16 days paid leave annually. Paid sick leave also follows this system but with more days added to each category of experience among employees. Not to mention the many public holidays that Malaysia has as well, they too fall under paid leave. 

#4. Flexibility

jobs in Malaysia
Source: re:Work

While not all companies (especially SMEs) can cater to flexibility, it should be noted that offering flexible work hours can attract Gen Z’ers. The availability to be able to work around avoiding the massive traffic jams that plague our highways would be a blessing and thus, many job seekers would more likely apply for a position if there are offers to have flexible timing and hours. With careful analysis of hours and the availability to adjust said hours, a company can become flexible, and that may bring about some advantages.

Some companies may also offer the availability to work from home, and this can also attract some Gen Z’ers as they are known to be quite isolated or tend to do things by themselves and not in a team. It all comes down to what tasks at hand they have to do. 

#5. Appreciation.

jobs in Malaysia
Source: Fooda

While money and a decent salary is a key motivator for jobs in Malaysia, sometimes appreciation from higher ups can also mean a lot to Gen Z’ers, or anyone really. Knowing that Gen Z’ers are very individual based, a simple team lunch can really boost their mood and motivation. And being in Malaysia, we know very well how food can bring us together

Team lunches are usually a great way to show appreciation for staff overall, but other forms such can help too, like complimenting them on a job well done (if they did a good job of course).

#6. Privacy and Personal Space

jobs in malaysia
Source: The Spruce

While more and more offices are pushing for open spaces in the office, it should be noted that unlike the millenials who opened up the idea for open spaces in the office, Gen Z’ers would rather have their own cubicle and a sense of privacy in the workplace. This may also be why options to work from home is attractive to some Gen Z job seekers in Malaysia. 

But this can’t be said for all Gen Z’ers, so the best option is to have a workplace that offers options for both open and private workstations. 


So those were 6 things that Gen Z’ers want for jobs in Malaysia. The world is forever changing, and the people of course, change with it. That is why companies would need to ensure that they prepare for the future and the needs of  future job seekers in order to retain the talent and attract more talent. By changing to suit the needs of future generations, companies will be able to survive and people will be able to have some form of job satisfaction. 

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