“Hiring in 2018 has been more quiet and modest,” contends Kimberlyn Lu, CEO of recruitment specialist Robert Walters Malaysia.
Companies, she says, had taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards hiring, particularly mid to senior positions, after the 14th General Elections.
“I think they want to generally know what the direction is before committing to senior hiring activities,” says Lu, “But a lot of companies that we speak to says they are looking at the first two quarters of 2019 to see where the country as a whole is going, in order for them to be more committed in hiring.”
When it comes to recruitment, that means hiring people that know, not just the technology but the products too. They must know how to ‘speak’ to the customers
Having said that, in terms of hiring trends, Lu says technology continue to permeate all sectors as digitisation of business processes continues to see increased adoption.
“We have financial institutions, insurance and consumer goods companies that are embracing tech. They are looking for ways to drive their products and businesses out, not just through the brick and mortar channels but through e-commerce and digital.”
“So, when it comes to recruitment, that means hiring people that know, not just the technology but the products too. They must know how to ‘speak’ to the customers,” says Lu.
In this regard, she says Malaysians are highly skilled but the talent pool remains limited and unable to meet increasing demands, leaving companies with little choice but to hire talents from abroad.
Strong But Limited Tech Talent Pool in Malaysia
In its latest Recruitment Outlook 2019 report, Robert Walters pointed out that legal, compliance and banking roles are expected to be in high demand, supported by the new government’s direction, where compliance to regulation and lower expenses are emphasised.
Candidates with specialised skills in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in senior positions will remain high in demand
“Good governance is really the tone of the day,” says Lu, who hails from the Philippines. “We’ve been seeing the trend over the past few years but particularly so this year and moving into 2019. Financial institutions are putting so much emphasis on good regulatory policies.”
“So, candidates with specialised skills in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in senior positions will remain high in demand,” says Lu.
Another hot sector in 2019 is insurance due to the ongoing detariffication in general insurance. Mid-level actuaries will be in high demand, she says.
(In 2016, Bank Negara Malaysia adopted the “Phased Liberalisation of the Motor and Fire Tariffs” with the end in view of having a fully liberalised insurance market.)
The insurance industry is also undergoing technological disruption, Lu adds, forcing companies to take a more digital approach with an eye on the younger demographic.
High Demand for Digital Marketer, UI/UX Designer
Meanwhile, in the engineering and manufacturing sector, Lu says Malaysia will continue to see strong demand for engineering professionals with international experience and especially working experience with MNCs.
Hiring managers should consider candidates who may not be immediately fit for a role and make the effort to train them, as this will help make employees feel invested in and valued
According to the report, accounting and finance features an optimistic outlook next year, supported by continued expansion of shared services while tax lawyers will be in high demand moving forward with the reintroduction of Sales and Services Tax (SST).
Moving into 2019, Lu opines that while hiring will be more upbeat, the search for quality talents in the middle and top management positions will continue to be a challenge. Her advice to hiring managers? Invest in talent.
“Investment in people is key to talent retention. Hiring managers should consider candidates who may not be immediately fit for a role and make the effort to train them, as this will help make employees feel invested in and valued.”
“Additionally, companies should spend time engaging with employees through updates on relevant work-related issues and company direction, undertake some off-work activities and promote access to and interaction with senior management, which many employees value,” says Lu.
Hiring Managers, Don’t Be Too Focused on Ticking the Boxes