3 ways (besides money) to hire top marketing talent in Malaysia

It is the start of 2019, and already, many marketers are eyeing their next venture to grow and build on their skills. In the new year, said a report by Robert Walters, we are set to see a positive hiring market in Malaysia and digitalisation will continue to be a key market driver. As expected, strong tech talent will be highly sought after on the market. But also, we will see a need for strong functional experience, strategic mindsets and strong leadership skills.

According to the study, areas such as Penang which are growing in prominence will also see a good amount of sales and marketing positions in customer service and general product sales were in fair demand throughout the year. Within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, sales and marketing professionals with trade marketing expertise will be highly sought after.


The rising popularity of trade marketing in Malaysia, last year, saw strong demand for talent with skills in shopper insights and analytics as well as cross-functional coordination skills. This year, there is also a demand for professionals with experience in revenue or trade spend management and business strategy consultancy.


In the e-commerce and tech sectors, marketing professionals with strong profit and loss (P&L) management skills will be in strong demand as companies seek expertise in driving profit margins, cost-saving initiatives and campaign execution and implementation over creativity.

Communications and PR

Expectations that corporate communications professionals should possess combined expertise in government affairs, media and internal and external relations will prove to be a challenge for hiring managers in 2019. To attract talent in this market, hiring managers need to address company culture and fit at the very start of the recruitment process.


Recruitment of sales and marketing professionals for industrial sectors was on the rise in 2018 due to legislative changes in the country, and this trend is expected to continue in 2019. There will be strong demand for sales and marketing professionals in the mechanical and electrical (M&E), chemical coating and mechanical components sectors. However, they are likely to face challenges finding quality candidates with people management skills.

And while you might think money could be the solution (it could), the study says that alternative  incentives should also be considered. Here are some tips to hiring in 2019:

Do not forget to sell your company

In 2019, hiring managers will continue to look for candidates who are not only skilled in their respective functions, but also possess good leadership and communication skills. In return, hiring managers too need to communicate the benefits of their agencies or companies.

To recruit talent, companies will need to sell job opportunities to candidates effectively.

Besides job scope clarity, hiring managers will also need to communicate succinctly any opportunities or exposure that comes with a role and how these can benefit a candidate’s career.

For instance, jobseekers will be looking for professional development in the areas of regional exposure, as well as expanded or new job assignments to develop new skills. They will also value the chance to be part of a larger organisational objective. Companies that can convey these prospects will be able to gain a competitive edge in securing quality talent.

In 2019, hiring managers will continue to look for candidates who are not only skilled in their respective functions but also possess good leadership and communication skills. In return, effective and constant communication between line managers and employees can also effectively address present and future expectations.


Companies will also need to acknowledge that flexible working hours and career development opportunities are crucial to retain their best employees and consider making these options available. In hiring as well, managers remain flexible in their criterias and expedite the hiring process to attract quality candidates and keep them engaged. Some organisations’ lengthy interview processes resulted in the loss of candidates in 2018, a trend likely  to continue in 2019. This will make recruitment unusually challenging in an already talent short market.

Hiring managers need to be clear, open-minded and reasonable with their expectations

Do not forget to invest in your people

The competitive marketplace is likely to result in a shortage of high-performing consultative sales professionals with two to five years’ experience, as companies seek to retain them through high increments, career acceleration plans, regional opportunities and attractive benefits.  Companies that are unable to match these will struggle both to attract and to retain this category of talent.

Investment in people is key to talent retention. Hiring managers should consider candidates who may not be immediately fit for a role and make the effort to train them, as this will help employees feel valued. Additionally, companies should spend time engaging with employees through updates on relevant work-related issues and  company direction, undertake some off- work activities and promote access to  and interaction with senior management.

To retain quality employees, companies should offer consistent training and career development plans. To keep staff engaged, hiring managers can also consider cross-functional job rotations or regional exposure for junior and mid-level executives and work-life balance or empowerment initiatives for senior-level employees.