Study: What are the areas marketing proficiency lag behind in Malaysia?

Malaysians might be relatively more adept at digital skills such as cloud computing and data analysis, but overall, there is still a significant skills gap across data science, business and technology. According to Coursera's latest Global Skills Report which ranked 108 countries, Malaysian learners showcased high skill proficiency for cloud computing and data analysis at 91% and 79% respectively, indicating a growing pocket of highly-skilled technical professionals in the country. When it comes to marketing, however, the report found Malaysians to be competitive (64%) instead of cutting-edge like their Singaporean counterparts (92%).

Malaysia secured mid-rankings globally in each domain - #52 in business, #48 in technology and #51 in data science. With 56% proficiency in technology, Malaysia lags behind neighbours such as Singapore (96%), Vietnam (88%) and Indonesia (78%). Similarly, the data science domain recorded 52% proficiency, placing Malaysia only slightly ahead of Indonesia (46%), Thailand (46%) and the Philippines (44%).

While proficiency in machine learning is at 50%, Malaysia has more learners opting for online learning to arm themselves with the skills of the future. The top trending skills among Malaysian learners included Python programming, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and data management. Meanwhile, key skills for data science including software engineering, mathematics and programming scored less than 50% in the report's benchmark, despite the nationwide push to encourage a new generation of STEM talents, the report found.

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Nonetheless, Malaysia is considered competitive with a 57% proficiency overall, ranking 46th globally and fourth in Southeast Asia. While it is ahead of the Philippines (#69) and Thailand (#76), it lags behind Singapore (#10), Vietnam (#20) and Indonesia (#45).

Coursera's MD - India and Asia Pacific, Raghav Gupta, said the pace of skills transformation is slower than the pace of digital transformation in Malaysia, as is the case in several countries worldwide. "Learners must invest in both soft and technical skills to prepare for jobs of the future," he said.

Meanwhile, Gupta also noted that the skills needed for high-demand entry-level roles can be developed "in a matter of months, not years". The report found that recent graduates and mid-career changes can develop entry-level, digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours, or one to two months with 10 learning hours per week. On the other hand, an individual without a degree or technological experience can be job-ready in 80 to 240 hours, or two to six months with 10 learning hours per week. The most transferrable skills across all future jobs, according to Coursera, are human skills such as problem solving and communication, computer literacy and career management.

There are currently 347k Coursera learners in Malaysia and 44% of them are female. Machine learning was the top most popular course among learners in the country, with First Step Korean and The Science of Well-being being the top two topics. Meanwhile, trending skills among Malaysian learners include marketing, digital marketing, C programming, design and product, and data management, among others.

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According to Coursera, the report focuses on business, technology and data science as they are the most popular domains on Coursera in terms of enrollments, and they encapsulate the skills most crucial to the future of work. The competencies within each domain capture the broad capabilities required to achieve expertise in these areas, and individual skills capture specific requirements to achieve mastery within each competency.

Functionally, the report's competencies and skills come from Coursera’s Skills Graph, which is a set of skills assembled through both open-source taxonomies such as  Wikipedia, as well as crowdsourcing from Coursera educators and learners on what they teach/learn on the Coursera platform. The 108 countries within the report are ranked against each other. A country or industry that is at 100% ranks at the top of the 108 countries and a country at 0% is at the bottom. 

For each groups’ percentile rankings, Coursera also broke them apart into four categories based on quartiles: cutting edge (76th percentile or above), competitive (51st to 75th percentile), emerging (26th to 50th percentile), and lagging (25th percentile and below). 

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Photo courtesy: 123RF