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Top 10 Jobs in Demand in Malaysia for 2019 according to Hays

What are Malaysia’s top ten talent trends for 2019?

This is a report by Hays, a worldwide Recruitment Firm.

The ever-pervasiveness of technology and innovation is dominating this year’s talent trends in Malaysia, with tech-savvy candidates across strategic business units short in supply. This is just one of the top ten talent trends in Malaysia in 2019, according to recruiting experts Hays.

“Malaysia’s economy is certainly picking up over the past few years and unemployment rates, low by international standards, will continue to improve in the coming year. Candidates looking for new opportunities in 2019 will find that despite Malaysia’s stigma of being slow to adopt new technologies, the country is, in fact, keeping pace with global trends. Job seekers will definitely stand to benefit from actively developing the skills in demand and staying relevant in the employment market,” says Tom Osborne, Managing Director at Hays Malaysia.

“The proliferation in the use of updated technologies in organisations in Malaysia has resulted in new opportunities for professionals from a wide spectrum of specialisms, not necessarily having an IT-focused role, to drive their businesses forward. For instance, as financial institutions and fintech companies build their capabilities in digital banking, legal, risk and compliance teams are needed to ensure the proper implementations of online systems and processes. Such employers are on the lookout for talents who have solid skills in their core profession while being up to date with digital banking laws and standards requirements to ensure compliant operations and allow businesses to scale up.”

The Hays Malaysia top ten talent trends in 2019 also reveals how data is affecting industries and their workforce needs.

“A good example is in the manufacturing and operations sector, where employers are constantly challenged to drive cost-savings and revenue growth, automation and new technologies are picking up in Malaysia,” says Tom.

“It is heartening to see that there has been a growing trend in businesses actively retraining and retraining their employees to learn new technologies and reduce the amount of manual effort required in operations. Candidates are therefore encouraged to stay open and adaptable while charting unfamiliar territory, while employers could benefit from implementing change management strategies to ensure smooth-sailing transitions.”

Here are the top ten talent trends in Malaysia for 2019:

1. Surge in Accountancy & Finance positions

As Malaysia remains a popular destination in South East Asia for Shared Service Centres (SSCs), more and more MNCs have decided to invest in building large centres that house almost their entire finance function to support their offices both locally and across the APAC area. This means that the demand for finance professionals skilled in accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger will continue to grow in the coming years. In the start-up space, Malaysia continues to attract both home-grown international businesses. Tech start-ups are also flocking to KL to set up shop due to the perfect combination of cost efficiencies, favourable government regulations, and high-speed internet accessibility. As such, accountancy and finance teams are required for financial analysis and planning, budgeting and forecasting.

2. Positive outlook for tax-related roles

Due to the recent elections and changes in Government in Malaysia, there have been major tax reforms, including the change of goods and services tax (GST) to sales and services tax (SST). This resulted in a three month tax holiday that caused a slight decline in hiring within the tax arena in Malaysia, coupled with various uncertainties revolving around the new tax scheme. The new SST has now been implemented and the market is expected to pick up again in terms of hiring with the focus still on professionals with transfer pricing knowledge in addition to the new SST mechanics.

3. New horizons for legal candidates

Due to the rapid growth in fintech and e-commerce, lawyers with experience in these fields are in great demand. Employers are actively seeking lawyers who have experience in dealing with intricate and complicated software and hardware agreements. Due to increasing incorporation of digitalisation and automation in business processes, e-commerce and fintech companies are shaping their legal team to support procurement functions and manage contract and preferred supplier lists (PSL). By contrast, there has been a relative decline in the need for traditional, full-spectrum in-house legal counsel roles, which usually deal with purely corporate-related and legal advisory matters.

4. Compliance, risk and governance roles more vital than ever

Regulatory changes have been dramatically shaping the financial services sector over the last few years, especially within banking institutions. This has resulted in a boost in demand for audit risk compliance, cyber security and HR governance talents. In addition, there are segments within banks which are expanding rapidly. For instance, there has been heightened emphasis placed on global banking, commercial banking, and wealth management, thereby creating more opportunities for relationship managers. Most financial institutions are also moving towards digitalisation, resulting in the development of digital banking capabilities and the need for experts to propel them forward in such an endeavour.

5. Agile talents are becoming the mainstream

In the constant struggle for improved product innovation and better customer experience, businesses are increasingly looking for individuals who are a product of MNC and start-up environments. Such candidates are seen as the perfect combination of process-driven mind sets but with the agility and independence of start-ups. With the progressive adoption of new and emerging technologies in Malaysia coupled with growing talent shortages in key technical areas that are fuelling growth in other countries/regions, employers will need to start training and developing potential talent, as well as establishing learning and development teams that create more robust programmes to fill the widening gap.

6. Transforming nature of the IT industry

Integrated automated production is reliable, predictable, and applicable to many industries. With the advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), businesses are leveraging on data analytics for their process improvement and efficiency. The integration of emerging technology capabilities within business operations is critical for success in the coming years. Companies are looking into retraining their employees to adapt to the latest technology and reduce the amount of manual effort required in operations. However, manpower is far from being obsolete as new functionalities still require human oversight. The creation of new roles such as AI Developer, Machine Learning specialist or data scientist will no longer be just a buzzword.

7. The boom in SME and e-commerce platforms

Malaysia’s SME and E-commerce platform scene is expected to rise in 2019 thanks to government policies supporting the National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework, including the creation of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). Furthermore, Malaysia boasts 15.3 million online shoppers and this trend continues to grow with more Malaysians moving towards online shopping via their mobile devices. In line with this, many companies are actively upskilling their current employees or recruiting new talents with digital or e-commerce knowledge and working experience to capitalise on this opportunity.

8. Evolving role of a CFO

It is expected that in 2019, the demand for strategic CFOs will increase as compared to transactional CFOs in order to embrace finance transformation and to realign with the recent technology disruption. Also, the role of a CFO could potentially overlap with the role of a CEO or COO as more and more CFOs stretching their responsibilities beyond finance – such as looking at improving the business efficiencies and growth. Companies are also leaning towards having CFOs who contribute to the strategic financial direction of a business on top of overseeing functions such as sales, marketing and procurement. There has also been a heightened preference for CFOs with soft skills such as effective communication as the role of a CFO becomes increasingly front-facing to stakeholders.

9. Buoyant IT job market

Malaysia’s IT market is expected to continue growing in 2019. Infrastructure skills, in particular, are largely in demand fueled by the continued growth of SSCs. The demand for development skills with mobile development, .net and java knowledge also remain high in demand. Companies are on the lookout for ERP candidates in the market, as well as project managers and heads of IT.

10. Data savvy talents desirable in Manufacturing & Operations

Within manufacturing & operations, businesses are increasingly requiring talents with high analytical and strategic thinking. The ability to interpret available data for the purpose of forecasting and statistical modelling for demand and supply planning is creating a niche, talent short market within the industry. In the operations and supply chain sector, we have observed a growing demand for talents with client-facing exposure, commercial capabilities and the business acumen to drive businesses.

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