By FARA AISYAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Online hiring activity in Malaysia continued its downward slide in the first quarter (1Q) of 2019 after posting an 8% year-on-year (YoY) decline in both January and February.
According to the Monster Employment Index, the number marks the country’s 12th consecutive month of online hiring decline.
“Despite the Malaysian economy recording a growth of 4.7% in 2018, with the central bank of Malaysia expecting the economy to continue to expand at a steady pace, the hiring outlook in Malaysia for the start of the 1Q has weakened as employers remain in a cautious hiring mood,” Monster.com CEO (Asia Pacific and Middle East) Abhijeet Mukherjee said in a statement last week.
However, he said the demand for skilled tech professionals and hiring across the information technology (IT) industry continues to rise as the sector recorded 11 straight months of positive annual growth.
“Digital marketing and data science appeared as the top sought-after skills in the 1Q,” he added.
Abhijeet said both large organisations and small and medium enterprises have a growing need for skilled tech workers, and that the widening skills gap is one of the biggest hurdles faced by business owners.
With limited supply and fierce competition, many companies have to start investing in reskilling their current workforce, and shift the company’s culture to become more innovative and adaptable, he said.
The index revealed that the logistic, courier/freight/transportation, shipping/marine industry employment sector saw the steepest annual decline among all sectors, down 21% YoY in February, followed by the retail sector at -20%.
IT, telecom/Internet service provider and business process outsourcing/IT-enabled services witnessed the steepest YoY growth among industry sectors, recording yet another double-digit growth of 25% in February.
The oil and gas sector charted an 11% growth YoY and continues to rank among the top growth industries since April 2017.
Among the occupation categories, only one of the nine job roles monitored by the index exhibited an increased demand on an annual basis.
In correlation with the increased hiring activity in the IT industry, software, hardware, telecom job roles witnessed a positive annual growth of 5% in February, the highest YoY growth since March 2018.
In the short term, it was up 3% month-on-month and 14% on a six-month basis.
Meanwhile, the demand for customer service professionals plummeted the most among job roles in January and February, down 33% and 38% YoY respectively.
The engineering/production and real estate job roles also registered the steepest annual decline since August 2016, falling 16% in February.