Local talent shortage forces IT firms to seek foreigners

It is projected that by 2025, the IT industry will require 1m specialised working professionals, says MDEC CEO

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The information technology (IT) industry is expected to face a shortage of between 7,000 and 15,000 professionals in the next two years, as Malaysia rides the wave of the growing digital economy.

Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said currently there are more than 3,000 companies registered under the Multimedia Super Corridor and the industry is currently in need of specialised workers in various IT fields.

“We project that by 2025, the IT industry will require one million specialised working professionals as the industry is experiencing a rampant growth,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

To keep up with the growth, many companies have to resort to foreign talents that are capable of moving in tandem with the current trend and needs in the IT industry.

Malaysian Employers Federation ED Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan (pic) said many IT companies are forced to seek foreign expertise, especially for the high-end sectors such as the big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

“The country still could not fulfil the requirement set by IT companies, especially when everyone is moving towards the Industry 4.0 and adopting technology such as big data analytics.

“The notion that IT companies prefer foreign talents is not entirely true, as they are forced to look for expertise elsewhere to keep up with other countries,” he told TMR.

Shamsuddin said India is currently one of the countries that are on the forefront of digital technology as it has produced sought-after talents.

“We do get most of our expertise from India, as Bangalore is also known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ for their advanced IT industry.

“The readiness among foreign talents to contribute to their employers as soon as they are hired is also among the perks that local IT companies seek. Most importantly, they do not need training, and that saves a lot of capital.

“These workers are often sought after by developed countries such as the US and UK that makes them highly in demand,” he said.

Shamsuddin said while quality of work should remain the priority, positions for Malaysian employees should not be jeopardised by the lower salaries that are demanded by foreign workers.

“From the employers’ view, the hiring criteria are most often based on the possible contribution of an individual to the company.

“It is not a matter of how much companies can save up if they hire expert from these countries,” he said, adding that higher wages should be granted to a better quality and productive staff.