The Need to Upskill

44% of Malaysian respondents reported having more relevant skills during the pandemic

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In Malaysia, 44% of locally-based respondents have seen their skills become more relevant during the pandemic. This is the highest in the region, with Singapore, Mainland China and Hong Kong SAR trailing at 21, 28 and 17% respectively.

Randstad – the world’s leading human resources solutions agency had released the results of their H2 2021 Workmonitor survey in Malaysia. The bi-annual survey highlights the workforce’s latest sentiments and perceptions of the local job market.

Consequently, 51% of respondents have been promoted during the pandemic and 23% of respondents have seen their ability to earn an income improve. However, 21% of respondents have reported a decline in their ability to earn an income.

Fahad Naeem, Head of Operations at Randstad Malaysia said, “Despite the rising employment rate, Malaysia remains a candidate-short market. Many industries are facing hiring challenges due to the mismatch between the digital growth ambitions of companies and the shortage of qualified talent to fulfil those goals. Even as the workforce has become increasingly well-educated and more people are re-entering the job search market, candidates simply lack the specific expertise to bridge the skills gap in Malaysia.”

“The pandemic has also further worsened the issue of under-employment. Despite an increasingly well-educated workforce in recent years, there remains an undersupply of high-skilled jobs which causes people to settle in jobs that they are overqualified for. As the country pushes forward to become a highly-connected and digital-first nation, there is a critical need to upskill the entire workforce so that more people are qualified for the high-value jobs that companies are offering now.”

Malaysian respondents recognise the need to upskill and want employers to help facilitate their career growth and development.

There is general awareness within workers that there is a need to upskill. Close to nine in 10 respondents said that the changes in the job market that have occurred or are anticipated to come have made them realise that they need more training and development to stay relevant.

Naeem adds, “In an effort to position the country as an attractive business destination, the Malaysian government plans to attract more foreign direct investments and create more cohesive private-public collaborations in the economic ecosystem. While these efforts will create more jobs for the local workforce, upskilling and re-skilling of employees and undergraduates need to keep up with the business demands to be able to continue attracting new investments.”

More than nine in 10 Malaysian respondents want their employers or the government to provide skills assessment tests so that they know what skills to obtain to stay employable.

Naeem adds, “Even though there is an earnest willingness to upskill, many employees are overwhelmed by deadlines and the sheer amount of work on a regular day. Therefore, employers need to develop an actionable long-term workforce upskilling strategy that aims to let employees know the specific skills that they need to acquire to advance their careers, as well as provide resources to help them meet their professional goals.”

The great resignation: 39% of respondents changed jobs in the past 6 months

The survey data indicated that “The Great Resignation” wave could be sweeping throughout Malaysia. The percentages of respondents that have switched employers have increased seven-point, from 29% in March 2021 to 36% in September 2021.

As for the factors driving their career choices, 51% of respondents value career growth opportunities, 37% value opportunities to gain more long-term marketable skills and 30% value working for a fast-growing company.

73% of respondents would consider a job offered by a company outside of Malaysia if they can perform the job locally. This is the highest in the region, with Singapore, Mainland China and Hong Kong SAR trailing at 69, 60 and 65% respectively.

The Randstad 2H 2021 Workmonitor survey was conducted in September 2021 across 34 markets around the world with a minimum of 800 respondents in each market.