Malaysia’s Top Talent Trends for 2020: Digitalisation and Reindustrialisation to Drive Job Market
Marked by continuous digital transformation, re-industrialisation and regulatory changes, Malaysia’s job market is geared for significant positive changes in the coming year, says recruiting experts Hays, as part of the country’s top 10 talent trends for 2020.
One of the biggest talent trends observed for the coming year is the impact of digitalisation on traditional job roles across industries and functions. Apart from a high demand for digital professionals in the areas of data analytics, cyber security and IT regulations, professionals in HR and marketing will also be increasingly expected to have digital knowledge and skillsets. Automation will also impact functions across industries, particularly within HR, supply chain and finance sectors. Positions that involve high levels of simple repetition, such as finance data entry roles are at high risk of becoming redundant, while in HR and supply chain, knowledge of relevant software has also become vital.
Underlying this transformation is a demand for senior professionals with experience in directing and implementing change. This includes HRBPs (HR business partners) and CISO (chief information security officers) who will be required to work cross functionally and have strong stakeholder management skills.
Other trends include the re-industrialisation drive in Malaysia as it benefits from a resurgence in its semiconductor industry and position in the Southeast Asia supply chain. The country is set to regain its ‘hub’ status that will see a number of international companies setting up headquarters in Malaysia and hiring locally. “The rapid pace of digital change in Malaysia has laid the way for a new set of challenges and opportunities in 2020,” says Tom Osborne, Managing Director for Hays in Malaysia.
“However, the country’s movements towards re-industrialisation and a more digital, automated workforce is well in tune with global movements towards the same. The continuous support of the Malaysian government will help sustain and accelerate these industries, bolstered by the country’s healthy economy and favourable market conditions amidst trade tensions. Open-minded organisations who can offer opportunities to develop and train their employees will find this to be a mutually beneficial practice and an effective way to manage the ongoing talent crunch. For candidates, those ready to embrace the impending digitisation of all industries and equip themselves with the change management skills needed to weather transformation will be best placed for the year ahead.”
Hays Top 10 Talent Trends for 2020 in Malaysia are:
1. Technology governance front lining financial institution
Regulators in Malaysia have been increasing their requirements in the areas of technology risk and cyber security. As a result, technology governance is starting to become an independent function in every organisation, particularly within financial institutions. Hiring for positions like CISO (chief information security officer), IT security risk professionals and IT audit analytics will surge significantly in the coming quarter to not just enforce regulations but also assist in technology implementations. Cyber resilience is another area that is rapidly gaining recognition in overcoming ‘smart’ attacks and cyber-crime. Detection and training against these threats has become an everyday subject along with adopting data analytics to perform audit works for the third line of defence. The ideal candidate for such roles would be adept at using large data sets to find opportunities for reducing risk, detecting fraud, optimising cost and operations efficiency and using models to test the effectiveness of different courses of action.
2. Data Analytics candidates to be in strong demand
Big data and related fields such as machine learning and analytics remained one of the hottest topics of the year, a trend that is likely to continue into 2020. Data scientists and machine learning specialists are some of the most highly sought-after candidates in the current IT market and positions that requires technical analytical and customer analysis will remain a hiring priority for organisations. Due to the ongoing talent shortage in this area, companies will be more open to hiring expats and hiking salary offers for the right candidate.
3. Automation will eliminate repetitive finance data entry roles
As the age of automation continues to take hold, there is a high chance that positions that involve high levels of simple repetition, such as finance data entry roles, will become redundant. Another example is the increasing linkage of EPOS (electronic point of sale) devices to accountancy systems, which puts regional ledger clerks under threat by allowing for the easy application of regional SSCs (shared service centres). Automation will soon become a risk for all roles across the accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger space over time.
4. Digital banking on the rise
Riding the National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework wave, the Malaysia government will be finalising the virtual banking framework along with applicants by 2020. As a result, we have observed that many financial institutions are recruiting or developing talent with digital or e-commerce knowledge. There is also an increased demand for tech and digital exposure, evidenced by the mushrooming of fintech companies looking to disrupt traditional processes, particularly within P2P lending, transaction banking and investments functions. Due to the rise in hybrid roles of risk with projects and testing, there is an increase of demand for risk candidates that also have programming knowledge in SAS, SQL and C++.
5. Growing demand for demand planners and logistics candidates
Many key players in the market are now seeking candidates within the demand planning function, in which knowledge and skills in forecasting, analysis, modelling and stakeholder’s management are emphasised. Demand planners will be expected to work closely with commercial teams and be involved in customer management to drive greater accuracy and service delivery. There is also an increasing need for logistics professionals with control tower experience to have real-time delivery tracking to enable greater efficiency and visibility. As for the procurement function, specialists in category management are being sought after in most international companies to optimise spend. Exposure beyond Asia Pacific, such as in the Middle East and Africa regions, is in increasing demand as well.
6. Automation continuously digitalising the HR function in Malaysia
The digital boom has caused tremendous changes in the HR industry, resulting in new areas and roles such as HR analytics (that focus on people-related data to help companies make more informed decisions), and HR process improvement (examining the potential to automate transactional tasks). Learning & development specialists are also required to be plan ahead on how talents can be upskilled for future needs. An increasing number of HR Shared Service/Global Business Service centres are being set up in Malaysia, creating more opportunities for HR candidates with digital skills digitalisation. Candidates with organisational development skills will also be in high demand to carry out ‘rightsizing’ and future workforce planning.
7. Heavy, chemical and automotive industries will be driving demand for regional sales positions
Within Malaysia’s more traditional industries, we are seeing an increasing trend of internal promotions within senior sales functions to help drive down human capital. Owing to the country’s growing reputation as a regional hub for Heavy, Chemical and Automotive industries, companies in the space are increasingly utilising Malaysian talent for their regional Head Quarters. We expect a rise in demand for regional sales roles based in Malaysia, as more companies leverage the developed market’s multilingual population and low cost of employment.
8. Demand for convenience as a market driver
An increasing number of FMCG companies are taking steps to react quickly to the ever-changing behaviour patterns of consumers. Digitalisation and the growth of e-commerce has allowed consumers to make most purchases online and employers are increasingly adopting digital strategies to keep pace, as well as hiring candidates with e-commerce skillsets. The demand for convenience has increased tremendously due to the busy city lifestyle, leading to the expansion and growth of convenience stores/chains. Consequently, employers in the space are on the lookout for candidates with retail operation experience or who manage key accounts for convenience channels. In addition, candidates with strong strategic planning skillsets and roles such as trade marketing/category management will remain in high demand.
9. High emphasis placed on IT in the legal space
With more emphasis placed on IT across industries, legal & regulatory roles have seen a sharp uptick. This refers to roles where the legal function is also tied to regulatory compliance such as PDPA, GDPR, and even dealing with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. The demand for lawyers with experience in complex software, hardware and licensing agreements is still seeing a steady rise, keeping the 2019 trend of hiring specialised IT lawyers going well into 2020.
10. Marketing candidates expected to have better digital and soft skills
Companies will continue their focus on acquiring digital brand talent to keep pace with the industry-wide digital transformation. Currently, candidates from conventional marketing roles are expected to have surface digital skills at the very least; but soon, we expect to see marketing and digital candidates converge to keep pace with rapid digitisation across industries. Another trend that can be seen within marketing is a focus on soft skills, such as language skills and approachability, as marketers are ultimately the face of the brand/organisation that they represent.