Local employers worry about shortage of digitally skilled workers, says JobStreet

Local economic challenges may hinder firms from making a large investment in developing their workforce


Malaysian employers are concerned with the shortage of local skilled talents to serve the transformation of digital technology.

JobStreet.com Malaysia country manager Gan Bock Herm said employers are pressured to seek skilled workers to compete in the booming of digital transformation.

“Employers are very worried about the supply of talent in the market and they feel that the current skillsets are inadequate to serve the transformation of digital technology.

“Employers are very clear in their mind that everybody is racing towards digital transformation and they need to do it (too),” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) at the briefing on the Job Outlook 2019 survey in Petaling Jaya.

Gan said employers believe the inability to hire skilled workers will compromise the prospects of their businesses.

“There is a realisation that if they are not aggressive in looking for talent, employers will lose out when the time comes.

“As a result, the businesses and projects cannot run smoothly and they have to bear the failure of the project,” he said.

Gan said most employers are willing to invest in internal skill-enhancing programmes to train new workers on specific skillsets.

“Among the areas that the companies will be looking at is development training as they are trying to accelerate the learning of their existing staff.

“They are putting more formal development programmes in specific areas and they are doing it in stages,” he said.

Local economic challenges anticipated in 2019 may hinder companies from making a large investment in developing their workforce.

“We could see that the economic challenges such as the global trade war, foreign investment into Malaysia and political uncertainties may influence companies to be more cautious in their workforce investment.

“But as far as the digitalisation is concerned, companies who decide to embark on that journey will have to spend because it is necessary.”

The survey, which gathered views from 20,343 candidates and 365 employers, revealed that 96% of employers believe the domestic labour market will adapt to the shift of the digital economy.

“This is mainly due to the rising demand for talent with digital skills and a limited supply in the market as more organisations are embarking on their own digital-transformation journey,” it said.

The survey noted that the education, logistics, business process outsourcing and insurance sectors registered the highest growth of hiring activity throughout 2018, while manufacturing, property and telecommunication seemed to have the least.

On a separate employment report, Randstad’s Malaysia 2019 Market Outlook expects local construction and property sectors to remain conservative in their hiring.

As the government’s projects are being phased across a longer period, the bulk of hiring activities in the construction sector has slowed down since May 2018 due to another round of approval processes.

“However, the bulk of hiring activities have slowed down since May as the companies have started to redirect their focus to getting their projects approved or re-approved by the new government,” it said.

For the information technology sector, the report said Malaysia remains one of the most favourable markets in sourcing skilled workers to refine products and services.

“Countries such as the US, Singapore and European countries have created an ecosystem where companies can come together to collaborate on a new technology that has the potential to drive innovation.

“While Malaysia may be a couple of years behind these markets in terms of the speed of innovation, it remains one of the top picks for companies that are looking to refine and scale their products and services,” the report said.