Talent expectations in 2023

While candidates do not necessarily want to switch jobs, they will be open to new opportunities that can boost their careers 


WITH fears of a recession in 2023, the uncertain economic outlook will pull job candidates into opposite extremes: Some will actively look for jobs, while others may take a more cautious approach when considering a career switch. 

Conservative candidates are careful about where they want to move next. While they do not necessarily want to switch jobs, they will be open to new opportunities that can boost their careers. 

On the other hand, employees in the throes of retrenchment and layoffs are likely to find employers that can offer better jobs and income security. 

Candidates are expecting to receive a 20% to 30% salary increase when they switch employers in 2023. Companies that offer less than a 20% pay increment will likely face challenges in attracting talent. Employers with a smaller hiring budget next year would need to be more creative in their total remuneration package to stay competitive in a talent-short recruitment market. 

Project-based allowances and bonuses for performance and project completion can help attract talent. Higher commission on target earnings for those in sales positions can also be an attractive financial reward that will appeal to job seekers. 

Other financial benefits that are particularly useful to attract talent and improve the overall employee experience include fuel or transport allowances, food subsidies and unlimited annual leave. However, if there is one benefit that we know employees prioritise, it is the flexible working arrangement. 

Respondents in the Randstad’s Reimagine Work white paper said that work-life balance stems from having better control over their work and personal time. Without flexibility in their lives while working from home, helping them live a better-balanced lifestyle. promote training and development opportunities as technology evolves, continuous and regular upskilling will be crucial to the organisation’s success. 

Promote Training 

Software engineers will take on more projects to deepen their Web3 capabilities and cyber-security professionals will build customised processes to strengthen overall data protection for the company. These on-the-job exposures train employees to become more productive and equip them with skills to drive innovation. 

Tech job seekers often expect a clear work plan for their first six to 12 months to understand their learning opportunities and career progressions. It also helps create a sense of job security for the candidate, knowing that they will be working on projects that contribute to the company’s growth. 

Senior-level candidates will want to know the challenges that they are expected to tackle in their first few weeks, and the fresh strategies they would need to develop to set the company in the right direction. On the other hand, managers want to know how they can grow their team’s capabilities and resources within the first year. 

Despite these high expectations, most companies’ existing corporate onboarding programmes still leave much to be desired for tech talent. Sometimes, employers just provide a folder or mandatory online training programmes and expect trainees to learn independently, which is not the kind of training experience people expect to receive. Many IT professionals prefer to receive personalised or customised training, either one-on-one or classroom-style training so that they can ask questions and establish relationships within the organisation. They also value mentorship opportunities that can help improve their soft skills, such as time and stakeholder management. 

Despite the robust start-up scene in Malaysia, there is still a preference to work for larger companies. Many candidates prefer working for a familiar brand or an established company with a larger presence as they associate those businesses with more stability and job security, which may not be necessarily true. 

Recent layoffs from tech giants indicate that even some of the biggest companies can make mistakes while trying to balance workforce planning and achieving profitability. 

We actively educate job searchers on how company sizes and maturity do not necessarily correlate with job and income stability, especially since people hardly work with only one employer throughout their whole work life. 

Instead, we encourage talent to interview with companies that may be lesser known but offer promising career growth opportunities and a pleasant work environment. They will have the opportunity to acquire new skills and deepen their capabilities, which would make them more attractive talent to employers. 

Interaction Helps 

It is, hence, critical for small-and-medium enterprises and start-ups to share more information about what it is like to work in the company to help create clarity on how the company can support their growth in a supportive environment. 

One of the ways that employers can do that is to invite the job applicant to meet with the rest of the employees during the final round of interview. This interaction helps them understand the synergy within the team, as well as evaluate whether the environment fits them. 

Amid uncertainties in the tech space in the early half of 2023, we advise employers to actively strengthen and promote their branding to stand out in a sea of companies vying for the same small talent pool. 

The company website serves as a “storefront” to attract and engage with new talent. Enhancing your digital capabilities like search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, content marketing and talent engagement showcases your company’s ability and attracts talent who wants to work for you. 

  • Extracted from Randstad Malaysia’s 2023 Job Market and Salary Trends Report. Jonathan Sia is the associate director for software, digital & emerging technology while Ashraf Faffiudin is the senior recruitment manager for enterprise technology at Randstad Malaysia. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition