KUALA LUMPUR | Malaysian employees increasingly believe that it is the responsibility of chief executive officers to drive change, rather than the government of the day, according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer.

“84% of respondents agree that CEOs should take the lead on change, rather than waiting for the government to impose it,” Edelman said in a statement today.

The global communications firm added that employees expect CEOs to play a larger role in driving societal change with shared action, personal empowerment and providing more job opportunities.

The Edelman Trust Barometer, which studies how citizens across 27 markets trust their government, businesses, non-governmental organisations and media, discovered that people are increasingly shifting trust towards their employers.

According to the study, 76% of Malaysian respondents have a strong relationship with their employers.

Mazuin Zin, Edelman Malaysia’s managing director, elaborated: “Amongst the growing fear of job loss due to automation, corporate leadership is expected to play a vital role in upskilling, reskilling and involving employees in more meaningful tasks beyond business as usual, to instill a sense of trust and purpose at work and in the larger ecosystem.”

Some 77% of Malaysians also believe that companies can improve society in addition to increasing profits, the study showed.

“Employees today expect businesses to look beyond processes and performance. Companies are expected to lead conversations on larger issues relating to societal good,” said Bob Grove, Edelman’s chief operating officer for Asia Pacific.