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As Malaysia reopens, an increased appetite for hiring but candidate caution remains

Posted about 2 months ago by JAC Recruitment Malaysia

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As Covid recedes, business in Malaysia opens up

With over 90% of Malaysia’s population now fully vaccinated and government restrictions on physical movement lifted, Malaysia is open for business.

​With the successive easing of controls, companies in Malaysia have gradually regained their readiness for hiring. By the third quarter of this year, job vacancies had increased by 6% over Q2, 184% compared to Q3 2020, and 103% compared to Q3 2019. The appetite for hiring is not just for replacements, but part of a more significant move towards hiring that had somewhat continued throughout the pandemic lockdown periods, with IT, telecommunications, outsourcing and Global Business Services (GBS), and Banking & Finance particularly active.

Digital transformation & Centres of Excellence push hiring appetite

As the shared business services industry in Kuala Lumpur has matured from a regional one to a successful global business services (GBS) hub, no longer limited to support functions like accounting and finance but embedded into a full spectrum of support functions such as Human Resources, data management, procurement, digital marketing, mass communications, products, payroll, and across all industries financial services, logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare.

​There is no doubt the GBS market is further set to grow with the government’s commitment to improving digital infrastructure and active hiring despite the pandemic situation in Malaysia. There has been a significant increase of new functional roles in supply-chain, digital marketing, talent acquisition, and IT as Malaysia continues to attract investment into centres of excellence (COE) of global companies.

​As the manufacturing sector moves towards Industry 4.0, companies are on the hunt for engineers highly skilled in automation. As global demand for E&E products remains strong, employment in manufacturing continues to generate demand. In particular, semiconductor companies already leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies and solutions are holding the lead on job creation—although they were active before and throughout the pandemic.

​Other active areas were evident with the tremendous increase of IT technical job orders for niche skills in telecommunications, IT consulting and e-commerce. Rising investment in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and life sciences industries has also catalysed growth in their respective sectors. Ongoing US-China trade tensions also hold the potential for opportunities for new investment if MNCs shift their operations from China to South-East Asia, as we have already seen take place with several global companies so far this year.

Meanwhile, candidates remain cautious

In contrast to the hiring appetite for companies, overall, jobseekers were viewing the market very cautiously in Q3 compared to Q2 this year, with many focusing on jobs security over mobility. Candidates are more open to permanent roles over fixed-term or contract positions; many are looking for flexible working hours or work-from-home arrangements and are also reluctant to travel overseas or even within Malaysia for business.

​However, IT candidates, ever in demand, are more mobile and may choose to be enticed by the promise of a bump in salary or even by companies who use systems and technologies which are more advanced than what they are using in their current roles.

​On the one hand, Covid-19 has accelerated an appetite for hiring for disruptive technologies as companies fill in the digital gaps in their operations. On the other, it has caused professionals to be less receptive to changing jobs. It is necessary now more than ever for hiring companies to have a pulse on the evolving needs and preferences of candidates on the market today to capture these opportunities successfully.

To learn more about the changing needs of jobseekers as we head into a new year, feel free to reach out for a confidential discussion by filling in the form on this page.

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