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Malaysians working abroad reluctant to return

They feel that they would not receive the same fair treatment in promotions and seniority if they did so. -NST

Mon, Jun 14, 2010
New Straits Times

WHY are Malaysians working abroad reluctant to come home? Local headhunters and human resource consulting experts cited issues of fairness as among the reasons.

Lawrence Lim, a headhunter with HR Solutions One, said any effort to bring them home would not work if they perceived that they would not receive the same fair treatment where promotions and seniority are concerned.

Lim cited an example of a Malaysian he knew, a highly regarded cardiac surgeon who had served in senior positions in the United Kingdom.

"The surgeon had returned to Malaysia in a previous government exercise to attract Malaysians back but was shocked when he learned that he was given a more junior position!" he said.

Lim added that apart from the perception of fairness, such talent would also find it more challenging and fulfilling to work with their equally talented colleagues.

"Attracting foreigners will be relatively easier. I have received several unsolicited resumes from foreigners who are somehow attracted to this region. A few of them are so keen to be here that they are willing to work on local terms."

Manoharan Dhanaraj, country manager for Career Builders, said there was keen interest from foreigners who wanted to work in Malaysia in high-technology industries, such as electronics and biotechnology.

"These are also the industries that are still catching up with other countries so the government also welcomes them.

"Many of them are also prepared to work based on local terms."

However, many become unhappy when they are not treated equally and their contributions are not given due recognition.

"Many have complained that when it comes to promotions, they will lose out to the locals. This is also the same thing that Malaysians working abroad face upon returning here. Those who are in senior positions end up being demoted to a junior level."

Manoharan said while it was important for the government to offer competitive salary packages, many would still be put off with the idea of working here if they could not work in a fair environment.

He said that for the foreigners who were willing to work based on local terms, making it easier for them to get permanent residence status would help to retain them on a long-term basis.

"When there is a shortage of skills or the expertise is not available locally, we must ensure that we are able to keep them for the long term."

- New Straits Times

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