Despite a trimmed GDP growth forecast and ongoing domestic adjustments, Malaysian employers are optimistic about hiring and expansion plans in 2019. According to RGF International Recruitment’s Talent in Asia report, local businesses plan to expand headcount (59%), while more than 40% predict downsizing their teams in the coming months.
While these are some of the plans for Malaysian employers, nearly half of those surveyed said they are struggling to attract and hire the right candidates across all industries and job levels. The report highlighted that the talent shortage in Malaysia has not helped, as a number of skilled Malaysian workers are overseas.
Approximately, 49% of the employers who responded said talent shortage is their biggest hiring challenge. This comes on the back of low hiring budgets (19%) and the struggle to find talent to fit their company culture (13%). More than anything, the report added that employers are looking for talent with strong industry expertise (56%), but are also concerned about a strong sense of accountability (18%) and agility (15%).
Meanwhile, candidates have high expectations of salary and compensation before getting hired. About 44% of local talent said in the report that they consider competitive salary and compensation to be the most important factor when searching for a job, with 91% expecting a pay rise when switching jobs - with the average salary jump coming in at 17%.
Other than financial compensation, Malaysians said the next most important factors they look at are working with “top calibre colleagues” (13%), career advancement opportunities and stable leadership (10%). Meanwhile, on the employer side, business growth and hiring sentiments remain positive, with a the number of employers viewing the outlook as “pessimistic” (15%), which is also the highest among all Asian countries. Overall, 54% were “optimistic” while, 31% took a neutral viewpoint.
Ai Ling Lee, managing director, RGF Executive Search Malaysia said the current shift of digitalisation sweeping across Malaysia’s workforce is key to shaping talent here, especially young graduates who need to maintain a future-ready mindset to get ahead. She added that employers have a large responsibility to identify concerns around skill gaps and on-the-job training, while also promoting key hires from within to plug talent gaps.
“Even though demand for talent with deep industry experience is surging, there is also a comparative deficit of supply. To increase their employment opportunities, talent must not only invest in upskilling but also learn to adapt to change in order to stay relevant," Lee said.
The report surveyed 3,500 respondents across 11 countries and markets in Asia, both employers and candidates from various industry sectors. The report aims to better understand the needs, demands and expectations of both candidates and employers in Asia. Similar to Singapore, across Malaysia, the professional services and technology, Internet and telecommunication sectors emerged as the most desirable industries for talent to work in.
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