For some thirty years or more, Malaysia has watched its sons and daughters attain the highest qualifications in schools and universities only to see them take this education and head for more affluent climes. However, with positive governmental influence and an economy improving beyond all predictions, there is hope that this can be overturned.
Malaysia’s Life Sciences sector is an industry very much at the forefront of this recent economic growth with demand high for candidates to fill positions in the following areas of nursing, clinical research organisations, regulatory affairs and diabetes, heart disease and dengue fever. “The Life Sciences sector in Malaysia has benefited from ever-increasing technological innovation and growing patient awareness. This has created a number of job openings across the whole sector with firms in healthcare looking to recruit the best people, who can make the most impact, for each of the current individual openings in the market” says Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays Malaysia.
One such area is nursing, and in particular, there is heightened demand for nurses to fill roles in private hospitals “For any private hospital, a crucial role will be recruiting,” Tom explains. “They will try to attract international nurses, but 2018 will see a strategic move by many private hospitals to attract Malaysians working overseas to return home and fill roles currently open.”
Another sector where there are a number of roles available is in Clinical Research Organisations (CROs). Thanks to its sizable population, Malaysia is an important country for clinical research, but while there are many CROs in the country, they are finding it difficult to entice staff. CRO start-ups, of which there are an increasing number in Malaysia, are finding it even harder to fill positions. “Most candidates want to move to a tier one company so start-ups and mid-level companies might struggle to attract candidates. As such, they are more willing to pay premium salaries, a situation I can foresee continuing for at least 6-12 months.”
It is of course understandable that Malaysians look towards other countries in which to seek out opportunities, and it is a natural human instinct to feel that the grass is perhaps greener on the other side. However, as Malaysia’s economy grows apace and the shortage in the market sees applicants receiving three or four job offers at a time, it might be a good time for candidates in the Life Sciences industry to look around and notice quite how green the grass is beneath their feet.
An overview of what other trends have been observed in Malaysia’s Life Sciences sector can be viewed below.
¥ Pharmaceutical Association of Malaysia (PhAma) reported a year on year 15.5% growth for over the counter (OTC) drugs in early 2017. This growth has driven recruitment in the area of consumer health/OTC. Due to Malaysia’s governmental requirement for all health products to be registered, this development means that the regulatory affairs sector is in continuous need for registered pharmacists.
¥ Candidate shortages are seeing MNCs taking more relaxed attitudes to recruitment requirements and are making moves towards hiring pharmacists in order to train them. This is a trend that is not being replicated in newer, smaller organisations.
¥ Commercial roles are another area in which candidate shortages are seeing companies promoting and then upskilling existing staff with higher potential.
¥ 2017 saw many pharma companies going into acquisitions at the business unit level. This has created changes in recruitment, as well as uncertainty amongst employees. Companies with long term unfilled roles in niche departments are increasingly willing to wait for the right candidates rather than rushing into recruitment. In this situation, companies are outsourcing the work, or existing employees are shouldering the additional workload.
¥ Unlike countries such as Mainland China, America and the UK, whose Life Science industries take on a global outlook, the Malaysian industry’s focus is still highly dependent on the local environment, meaning candidates with experience in the areas of diabetes, heart disease and dengue fever are required in 2018.