Skills preferred as Malaysia gears into automation

This will create a high demand for jobs in machine maintenance and servicing


AS MALAYSIA gears up for Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) and paves the way for 5G networks, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered machines might be replacing jobs in the future.

This will create a high demand for jobs in machine maintenance and servicing.

InTalent Consulting Sdn Bhd consulting director Sean Lee said the hiring trend in Malaysia is on skill-based positions.

“If you’ve got programming skills, you’ve got certain skills which you know are not easily replaceable by technology, that’s one of them. Secondly, there are certain skills which require solution-based maintenance,” he said.

Once Malaysia implements 5G technology, there would be a possibility of having fully-automated buses and trains. Therefore, train conductors and bus drivers may lose their jobs.

“The jobs are people who can actually maintain machines. So, our job becomes like a set-up service to the machines and altering to the technologies today.

“If you talk about the future, the things that are coming would be machines. Now, we’ve got robot trains moving around, and we’ve got buses that drive by themselves. Sooner or later, we will have self-driving cars,” Lee explained.

However, there are certain jobs that cannot be replaced by machines such as customer service as customers still prefer human interactions to speak to humans rather than a robot.

He also showed that the city of Shenzhen in China is an example of how the future of jobs would look like.

“They (Shenzhen) have their buses going around without any driver. So, it’s an automated bus. The buses and the trains are all powered by 5G and AI. The Chinese have already come up with the future of the world,” Lee added.

Prior to this, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested that focus should be on developing new skills among local talents as he believes automation will be the key for the Malaysian economy in the future.

He also acknowledged concerns where automation may result in unemployment, but insisted that it can be mitigated by retraining local labours in other new skills. As a result, Malaysia may no longer need to rely on foreign labours to boost its economy.

Based on LinkedIn’s first edition of the “Future of Talent” report, skills will continue to help in the country’s economic recovery and growth, and will become the new currency for recruitment in the workplace.

The report revealed that 85% of Malaysian companies are willing to hire internally and are looking for soft skills, including problem solving skills, communication skills and strategic thinking.

Malaysian companies would rather hire candidates with technical skills (38%) and transferable skills (28%) over traditional qualifiers like education (10%) and minimum years of experience (12%).

Only two out of three (67%) of the companies would hire employees from another industry if their skills match their job requirements.

Moreover, 85% of companies prefer internal recruitment. This enables them to leverage existing employees’ insider’s perspectives (72%), provide a sense of progress to employees (65%) and encourage loyalty (56%).

Among the three skills, problem solving skills are high in demand for the respondents (46%) compared to other markets in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).

LinkedIn talent and learning solutions APAC VP Feon Ang’s new roles have been created and existing ones have evolved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Hiring talent with the right skill sets for these roles is very important to organisations, and these days, it matters less that the talent has the traditional qualifications or industry experience.

“Going forward, we can expect to see a skill-based economy taking shape, with skills becoming the new currency for workers in the future world of work. I encourage all individuals to adopt a growth mindset, and keep learning to stay relevant,” she said.

Almost nine in 10 local companies understand that using data-driven insights in their hiring decisions is important.

With 55%, Malaysian companies are leading the APAC region in using data for mapping skills with open position requirements, where data is mostly used for identifying skills needed in the future (57%), determining top technical skills required for a particular role or profile (55%) and measuring employee performance (52%).

“With skills being an engine of growth now and into the future, it is critical that human resources (HR) and business leaders are equipped with advanced tools like data analytics. These tools can help them identify both potential candidates who have those set of skills and internal hires who can be reskilled,” said Ang.

The LinkedIn report also revealed that 55% of the companies believed that HR plays an important role in employee training and development, and 57% cited employee engagement as another important area of HR’s role.

When it comes to the pre-pandemic era, HR is still important in shaping business strategies among Malaysian companies (54%).

However, HR becomes more important than ever during the pandemic (68%) as many companies recognise the importance of having the right talent in reshaping business strategy.

Since HR would play a key factor post-pandemic, nine out of 10 Malaysian companies believe it will play a meaningful part in streamlining business and in formulating strategies.

The report was conducted across that APAC region including Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore, with over 3,500 respondents from small, medium and large enterprises.