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Behind the job-fling trend among the youth

Many young people switch jobs on a regular basis, in what some employers have described as a trend over the past few years.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
Office workers exit the train at their stop as they head home for the day.
Office workers exit the train at their stop as they head home for the day.

By the time she was 27, Azimah Awliya Ali had already done stints at a number of different companies on top of the first job she worked towards the end of her university degree in 2016. 

At that point, she had worked as an administrative assistant in the customer data department of a private hospital. 

After graduating with a degree in computer science, Azimah underwent a career change and became a real estate agent in Johor Bahru. 

A year and nine months later, she moved to Shah Alam in Selangor to join the sales team of a leading telekung boutique. 

There, she worked until she was promoted to supervisor, and then became the employer's personal assistant. 

In 2020, just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Azimah switched paths again and became a takaful and insurance consultant at a private company in Bangi. 

Now, at the age of 29, she has managed to secure a place in the government service under the Public Service Commission. 

Azimah said moving from workplace to workplace had helped her establish a good career profile. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, she said the different work experiences at each place had allowed her to showcase a range of abilities to prospective employers. 

"People have called me flaky for changing jobs so often," she said. 

"But this also allowed me to earn a stable income in a short period of time." 

Before entering the public service, Azimah was paid between RM2,100 and RM6,500 at her various jobs. 

While her current salary is somewhat lower than what she had earned at her peak, she is comfortable with the savings she has accumulated so far. 

"Now, I try to focus on my work and not worry about saving anymore. 

"I just need to continue putting away a little bit each month," she said. 


Azimah is one of many young people who have moved from job to job over the past few years. 

While there are no detailed statistics on the trend, several employers who spoke to MalaysiaNow said this had been their experience for about four years now. 

Syafiq Amil, a manager at a marketing and advertising company in Ampang, said he had begun to worry whenever he had to arrange for interviews with new workers. 

Since 2017, he has interviewed more than 10 candidates for the same post. None of them lasted for more than 18 months. 

Some said they only wanted to gain some experience in the field before trying their luck elsewhere. 

"It's very tiring for me and the human resources department because there are many processes to go through every time we hire someone new," Syafiq said.

"It's not just the interview. We have to create a new account and prepare new equipment and new records in the system. Everything requires costs and energy. 

"But they don't even stay for a year." 

Today, he is still getting workers who hop from one job to another, most of whom are in their 20s. 

He said it was no surprise that some employers preferred to recruit foreign workers or employ freelancers.

"It's better for them to try their hand in the gig economy as food delivery riders or e-hailing drivers," he said, referring to the frequent job-switchers. 

"Then they can get a stable income without being tied to a work contract." 

Parents' support

In Azimah's case, she stopped working in 2020 before joining the government service early this year. 

This meant that for more than a year, she was unemployed. 

When asked what she had done to support herself throughout this period, she said she had received financial and emotional support from her parents. 

She lived with her parents in Johor Bahru throughout the movement control order periods and they never once urged her to find a new job, she said. 

"They understand my way of moving from job to job and they believe in my career plans," she said. 

"Now I have proven that what I did was the right thing for my future." 

At Azimah's old insurance office, though, a former employer who introduced herself as Nurul Izzaty said the trend of frequent job changes could lead to individuals not taking a serious view of their own careers. 

If they persisted in changing jobs after less than a year, she said, it would be difficult for them to evaluate their progress. 

"They make work like a romantic fling," she said. 

"Once they get to know the other party a little bit more, they leave. In the end, what do we achieve? Only a lengthy resume showing that we have worked in many places – but no real experience."