Rethinking employee benefits to attract and retain talent

As the talent war continues to intensify, employers in Malaysia are looking to invest in benefits that differentiate them from the competition.
By: | July 26, 2023

More than four in five employers in Malaysia see competition for talent as the number one factor shaping their strategy for employee benefits in 2023, and they are resolving that issue by targeting to invest in market-leading benefits to attract top talent despite rising costs.

That is according to the 2023 Benefits Trends Survey by WTW, which conducted a survey between March and April this year, garnering responses from 5,233 employers across 95 markets globally, including Malaysia.

The survey showed that competition for talent (82%) is the most important factor influencing organisations’ benefits strategies in Malaysia, with respondents seeing rising costs, flexible working arrangements, and a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) as the next important influencing factors. These results also reflect the views of employers from the wider Asia Pacific (APAC) region. 

Employers in Malaysia see health benefits (69%), career training and development (62%) and risk and insurance benefits (41%) as the most important benefits they can offer to retain their top talent. These priorities are also aligned throughout the APAC region, where respondents chose the same top three priorities at 61%, 47% and 41% respectively.

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At the same time, employers in Malaysia also expressed a strong desire to improve their current benefits portfolios to remain competitive, with nearly one-third (32%) of respondents looking to improve the positions of their benefits in financial wellbeing / short-term finances, followed by mental health support at 26%, as well as family and caregiving support at 25%. Employees are also placing a greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with more than half (55%) planning or considering actions to understand key issues in DEI that are affecting employees. 

Cedric Luah, Managing Director and Head of Health & Benefits, International, WTW says that companies that can differentiate themselves and implement holistic benefits programmes will stand to gain a strong advantage against their competitors. “To achieve this, they must keep their ears close to the ground and maximise the employee experience, such as by leveraging on data and technology, to ensure that they are meeting the needs of a diverse workforce,” he said. “The answer to this is an integrated and sustainable approach to their benefits strategies built on flexibility, where employers can adapt effectively to employees’ evolving needs without compromising on the priorities of the business.”