Workforce keep tabs on tech to remain relevant

However, the depth of technology penetration is not something all firms can adopt at the same time due to cost and regulatory restrictions 

By LYDIA NATHAN / TMR FILE PIX

AS Malaysia continues facing rapid advancement in technology, it is vital that the workforce know how to relate and interact with the different digitalisation methods. 

World Bank Group economist Dr Amanina Abdur Rahman said knowing what technological skills are needed for the work prospect will play a big role, as 50% of jobs in the market today demand digital skills. 

“It is about whether the workforce can interact, Malaysian employers are increasingly demanding digital skills. Even for occupations that are not technology-heavy, there are requirements for lower-level digital skills,” she said during the Malaysia Board of Technologist’s virtual Accelerating Nations High-Skilled Talent webinar recently. 

According to Amanina, there has been many questions on whether digitalisation will eliminate the need for a human workforce. 

“Half the jobs today is at risk but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is technology for every job. This is because the depth of technology penetration is not something all firms can adopt at the same time due to the cost element as well as regulatory restrictions,” she said. 

Amanina added that another challenge is the slow income growth factor. 

“Despite Malaysia’s human capital being in line with what an income would predict, it is still lower than our transitional peers in the last few years as well as the aspirational peers. This is a cause for concern.” 

“Two factors that play a role here are education and stunting. Malaysia has done really well with providing access to education but better quality can help close the gap. 

“Another factor to look at is stunting in children, which is ultimately due to malnutrition. Despite strong progress in health outcomes, child stunting rates are still high,” she said. 

Amanina also said that to create a greater number of high-quality jobs, a more comprehensive set of policies is needed.

“This will include improving the retention and attraction of talent, a more coherent approach towards the private healthcare sector, legal reforms for parental support and a transition from teacher-centred teaching to student-centred learning,” she said. 

The number of unemployed increased slightly to 778,200 persons in July, resulting in the month’s unemployment rate to remain at 4.8%. According to the statistics of labour force for July, the employee’s category, which was the largest composition of employed persons, reduced by 0.02% to 11.87 million persons. 

Nevertheless, the own-account workers category continued to increase for six consecutive months with an addition of 0.3% month-on-month to record 2.5 million persons. 

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin had cautioned that due to the uncertain public health situation, the challenges to the labour market may persist. 

“On this note, collaboration and awareness of the whole nation comprising individuals, community as well as businesses are crucial to ensure herd immunity can be achieved, thus will be able to revive the country’s economy and labour market,” he said.