Survey: Majority of Malaysians don’t feel skilled enough to stay employed

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE majority of Malaysians are willing to be retrained to ensure their employability, as they do not feel skilled enough to remain employed, according to a recent survey.

The sentiment was shared by the majority of the respondents to Randstad Malaysia’s latest Work-monitor survey, as well as most Generation X workers.

The Workmonitor survey involved a minimum sample size of 400 per market and was conducted from March 13-30, 2020.

More companies are investing in technology as a strategy to recover faster and emerge stronger from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Randstad Malaysia and Singapore MD Jaya Dass said.

“However, this may risk further widening the gap between what employers expect of their workforce and the skills that the employees are realistically equipped with,” she said in a statement yesterday.

“To remain competitive, organisations need to meet the heightened expectations of their workforce in equipping them with the skills that will adequately prepare them for the future and to avoid unemployment”.

Government data showed Malaysia’s unemployment rate jumped to a 30-year high of 5% in April as the number of unemployed persons surged 48.8% year-on-year to 778,800.

This came as the hospitality, travel, aviation, food and beverage, entertainment, recreation, wellness and beauty sectors bore the brunt of movement restrictions under pandemic containment measures imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Jaya added that even though younger talents are seen as more desirable for their digital knowledge, employers should not expect or rely on them to deliver or to drive the company’s digital agenda.

“Such high expectations of our younger talent do not set them up for success, as they have yet to learn the know-how of working in a corporate environment, such as budgeting and project managing.

“Instead, companies should create a collaborative environment where employees from all different generations can experience growth together,” she said.

Although the majority of the participants had adopted a positive mindset towards being re-trained, 57% of respondents said current training programmes do not adequately prepare them for the skills needed in the future.

Employees and candidates are already feeling the immense pressure to develop new capabilities, Jaya added.

“There has never been a more urgent need to equip the workforce with digital skills to close the widening gap.

“Companies need to provide more dynamic and robust training programmes that can help their workforce gain new skills that will allow them to be more agile, creative and productive,” she said.

Taking a contrarian view, a separate study released last month said just 4% of firms in Malaysia are considering retrenchment while 43% are planning a hiring freeze.

Mercer LLC’s Pulse Survey, which interviewed 201 companies across 12 industries, said 6% of firms plan to enhance training and development initiatives, 13% are improving work-life balance programmes to enable more flexible work arrangements and 11% plans to increase their budget for healthcare benefits.