Life after the COVID-19 outbreak will never be the same. As we are approaching the endemic state, we are at the beginning of the end expecting the best for a new beginning. Prior to the unprecedented pandemic last year, its lingering effects on economic activity mostly on labor-intensive sectors, may need months to come back to speed. The persistent effects have left our local Sabahians with income cuts or inactivity as well as exposing some of our fellow citizens to displacement. It is undeniable that our economy has been hit hard by the pandemic – here’s what it’s like for the current local talents residing in this state based on findings by – social media survey conducted on October 2021.

Challenges & Difficulties Faced by Local Employees


To contain the spread of COVID-19, both state and federal introduced the Movement Control Order (MCO) starting on 18 March 2020, and it has been prolonged until 2021. The order includes stricter movement across the country and of course; limitation of business activity. COVID-19 has undeniably influenced our daily routines to our professional lives. launched its first social media poll in October 2020 to assess the impact of the COVID-19 on Sabahans.  Our 2020 survey found that 59% of the local workforce was affected by the pandemic, including being retrenched by their company, having their wage lowered, or being placed on unpaid leave. According to our 2021 social media poll results, 94% are affected by the pandemic: 43% are currently unemployed, 20% said heavier workload compared to last year, 13% has no pay increment/performance appraisal, another 13% said salary/working hours was reduced, 5% were laid off this year. 6% of the respondents are unaffected by the pandemic: 3% started work in a new company, 3% received a promotion to a higher position.

Sabahans’ worry, concern or fear in the job market in the next 4 months (Oct 2021 to Jan 2022)


According to our recent social media survey of Sabahan employees on their job market concerns and fears, 30.8% fear most on “Will I lose my Job?” (i.e. retrenchment or temporary lay-off); another 30.8% concern on “When will the Economy Recover?”,  19.2% wondering “”Will I get a promotion or salary increment?”; 11.5% worry “Will I get a pay cut?” (i.e. salary reduction); and 7.7% concern about their workload “Will I be asked to cover more work?” (i.e. longer shift work or more responsibilities). Insights to these concerns are present in previous findings, by referring to Covid-19 Business Confidence Report 2020 which was released by 50% of local employers chose to reduce their employees’ compensation (such as salary and benefits), 44% of the employers planned to downsize/retrench; 45% planned to freeze hiring, these decisions may affect employees with heavier workloads/responsibilities or compelled to work longer shifts.

New Types of Jobs Emerge from COVID-19

Because of the pandemic, the workplace and job market have changed dramatically in the last year. Our labour market is always changing, but the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change. Employers in all industries must learn to adapt to quickly changing conditions, and businesses must learn how to match personnel to new roles and activities.


The digital transformation has progresses more quickly than expected since the epidemic forced the country to switch into working-from-home mode. Talents that didn’t previously need to be tech-savvy had to learn rapidly to adapt to meet the same level of productivity digitally. Sabah companies are starting to invest more and more into technology including in searching for talents who are skilled in technology, even for positions which previously wouldn’t be thought of as a tech role.

According to our recent social media poll results: 42% favour the idea of Runner / Delivery Services as one of the growing jobs in Sabah; 33% think that E-commerce skills, Social Media management, and Account Manager skills are in great demand; 25% believe that Digital Skills (Information & Cyber Security/ Web Programmers/ IT Development/ Software Programming, etc.) are also in a great demand.  

Sabahans’ Willingness to Relocate


It is said that the economic recovery may require a longer period of time and looking for a new job is uniquely difficult due to the pandemic. However said, some job seekers are optimistic that hiring will continue in selected industries that have not been negatively impacted by the pandemic and in order to remain employed during and after this pandemic, it is observed that majority 78% of the respondents are willing to relocate outside of Sabah if offered with better salary and work-life balance; 11% of the respondents are willing to keep their current job as they preferred to stay close to their family; and 11% of the respondents are unsure about relocating due to work opportunities. In comparison to Sabah Employment Survey in 2019-2020 which was released before the pandemic: 96% of the respondents wished to remain in Sabah while 4% of the respondents indicated their preference to work outside of Sabah. With the pandemic, it really changes how people think and react. In conclusion from the current poll results, it seems that more jobseekers are willing and open to the idea of relocating or seeking work opportunities outside of Sabah.

See the full report:

Other topics:

  • Current Job Market Conditions In Sabah
  • Sabahans’ Opinion On ‘Reopening Of Malaysia Economy’ & Covid-19 As ‘Endemic’