Despite seeing positive annual growth the month before, Malaysia witnessed a sharp decline in online hiring for March 2020.

According to Monster Employment Index (MEI), the beginning of the year started off rocky or e-recruitment in Malaysia, as January brought a decline of 4 percent year-on-year. In February, though, online recruitment in Malaysia saw a significant spike, with a 9 percent year-on-year increase. However, this was followed by another dip in March which saw a 6 percent year-on-year decline.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the world in an unprecedented way. On 18 March, Malaysia implemented a national Movement Control Order (MCO) as a measure to curb the spread of the virus. This partial lockdown has severely impacted many businesses and companies in Malaysia, and online hiring has also taken a hit. We are cautiously optimistic that there will be a gradual U-shaped economic recovery for the region, and hope we will see an improvement in online recruitment once the MCO is lifted,” said Krish Seshadri, CEO of – APAC and Middle East.

The MEI is a gauge of online job posting activity compiled monthly by It records the industries and occupations that show the highest and lowest growth in local recruitment activity.

In March 2020, only two of the nine industry sectors monitored by the Index, witnessed growth in online recruitment activity.

Malaysia’s Oil and Gas sector witnessed the biggest growth, registering a 6 percent year-on-year increase in online recruitment activity in the month of March. This is the most notable hike in e-recruitment activity for the Oil and Gas industry since October 2019. The growth momentum improved by nine percentage points – up from a decline of 3 percent in February 2020. In the short-term, the sector has fared well, up 5 percent (month-on-month), up 4 percent (three-month) and up 3 percent (six-month).

The IT, Telecom/ISP and BPO/ITES industry continues to reign as the most popular industry in e-recruitment in Malaysia. For the month of March, there was a 3 percent year-on-year increase in demand for hiring, but on-the-month, the sector saw no growth (zero percent).

E-recruitment activity in Advertising, Market Research, Public Relations, Media and Entertainment saw marginal decline of 2 percent on-the-year, down from 19 percent growth last month. Nonetheless, on a six-month basis, the sector exhibited the steepest growth (up 13 percent) among all sectors.

Year-on-year, the Hospitality industry receded in annual growth for the first time since April 2019, with a decrease of 3 percent. Month-on-month, the sector saw a decline of 8 percent.

Meanwhile, the Logistic, Courier/Freight/Transportation, Shipping/Marine sector recorded the most notable decline among industry sectors in March 2020, with a 18 percent year-on-year decline.

In terms of specific job roles, the year-on-year growth for professionals was positive in only one of the nine job-roles monitored by the Index. Software, Hardware, Telecom professionals were the only occupation group to record positive growth among job-roles, with a 9 percent year-on-year growth in March. In short-term, the sector witnessed strong double-digit growth across the board; up 12 percent (month-on-month), up 29 percent (three-month) and up 24 percent (six-month).

Marketing & Communications professionals witnessed a 5 percent decline on an annual basis in March and long-term growth momentum for this occupation group eased by 10 percent between February and March 2020. However, monthly demand recorded a small growth of 1 percent in March.

Year-on-year, Sales & Business Development professionals recorded a decline of 6 percent. Nevertheless, online demand remained positive on all other parameters; up 5 percent (month-on-month), up 10 percent (three-month) and up 4 percent (six-month).

Meanwhile, Customer Service and Hospitality & Travel (both down 27 percent year-on-year) recorded the steepest annual decline in March 2020 among job-roles.



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