Job Outlook

Jobs in Demand in Malaysia 2020 According to Robert Walters

Robert Walters Malaysia Salary Survey for 2020

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A recent Salary Survey for 2020 finds technology and transformation roles remain in high demand as the pace of digitalisation picks up and more companies are working at improving their business processes and delivery.

The survey by Robert Walters, one of the world’s leading specialist professional recruitment consultancies, looked into key trends and outlook that primarily identify key mid and high level roles in demand across industries in Malaysia and salary increment expectations for talents who are changing jobs in 2020.

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Robert Walters Salary Survey 2020

According to Kimberlyn Lu, Country Manager Malaysia, Robert Walters, on a whole the survey results suggests 3-8 per cent increment for those staying in their jobs while those who are moving jobs or are promoted, can expect a 15-20 percent increment. Talents with niche skills who are changing jobs on the other hand are looking at an increment of up to 30 percent due to demand outstripping supply.

The prominence of technology is clear across major industries like finance, banking, engineering, HR and legal. The survey looks at key roles for each of these industries and tech driven roles make it to the top of the list in demand. Traditional roles such as governance and operations management together with roles relating to the adoption of recent technological advancements such as analytics, digitalisation, transformation, automation, big data, AI and cyber security continue to gain more attention as they will be highly sought after in the coming year.

“Professionals in Procurement & Logistics (89%), Accounting & Finance (75%) and Engineering (75%) are optimistic about opportunities in their industry as they have been early adopters of technology and are experiencing the middle wave where digitalisation has already begun to impact the way they do their job,” added Kimberlyn.

Engineering roles continues to be in high demand in the Northern Region. Other roles that will be in demand for the region will be niche IT positions such as data scientist. New manufacturing companies setting up their plants in the coming year hence there will be a need to hire senior management positions in finance and operations.

In the HR sector, the onslaught of digitalisation is opening up opportunities for talents with hybrid skill sets. A balance between traditional HR capabilities, analytics and AI implementation knowledge in HR processes can enhance the attractiveness of an applicant. Companies are expected to seek digitally savvy talent with a progressive mindset across all functions to accelerate digitalisation efforts.

The study also delved into drivers of job satisfaction among talent to give employers a good idea of what the talent market expects when they accept a job. Work life balance, good working environment, learning opportunities and competitive remuneration are among the key reasons that influence people to stay and thrive in the working environment.

As for the technology and transformation sector, some key trends which will drive the job roles and demand are emerging tech and digital transformation for both enterprise and consumer levels, digital forensics and cyber security as digitalisation seeps into the DNA of businesses and e-wallets and payments which is increasingly becoming the transaction of choice for the younger consumer base.

The Salary Survey also highlighted key roles in demand for each sector:

“We are excited for the coming year as we see forward thinking employers have begun to emphasise on potential of the talent and transferable skill sets over market sector experience. This will encourage mid and senior level management to break their mold and expect new challenges that can help them deliver value and transform the business. To retain top professionals, hiring managers have to show a commitment to learning and development as well as mapping out how the roles can contribute to the wider organisation,” concluded Kimberlyn.

Robert Walters 2020 Salary Report: Digitalization Spurs Demand for Tech Talent in Southeast Asia

  • Hybrid skills sought-after in managers who can use technology to drive core business
  • Jobseekers open to non-permanent roles if can gain on-job experience, pick up new skills

Technology remains a major focus for businesses in Southeast Asia, which is in turn shaping hiring trends. Digitalisation will continue to be a major driver in 2020, and there will be a growing demand for “glocal’ professionals, particularly for both mid-level and senior positions.

These were the conclusions reached in the recent Salary Survey 2020 for China and Southeast Asia published by recruitment firm Robert Walters. In Malaysia and Singapore, hiring in 2019 showed steady signs of growth, with robust activity in technology-related fields. Meanwhile, in Indonesia hiring slowed down because of the elections, but is expected to pick up going into 2020.

In particular, the report states that hybrid skills will be sought after, specifically mid-level and senior managers who know how to use new technologies to drive business. Meanwhile, the report also points out that in Singapore there was “a slight decline… for roles perceived to be more traditional in nature, such as transactional accounting and operations”.

The report gives two areas of high demand as examples of how highly valued technology skills are: “HR professionals who are well-versed in workforce analytics and finance professionals with expertise in business intelligence”. The report concludes, “forward-thinking employers are starting to emphasise potential and transferrable skill sets over market sector experience”.

Technology and Transformation findings for Malaysia.
Technology and Transformation findings for Malaysia.

Digital demand across sectors

There is a demand for risk and compliance professionals as fintech disrupts and drives new regulations set by central banks. Meanwhile, the US-China trade war has on the one hand created uncertainty (resulting in a relatively slow 2019), but it has also resulted in manufacturers moving production lines from China to Southeast Asia, spurring demand for talent not just from engineering, but also more generic fields such as accounting and logistics.

The exact sectors that will see a higher demand for technical skills varies slightly from country to country. In Malaysia employers are looking for AI and machine learning, in Indonesia e-commerce is still vibrant while logistics, payments, digital health and edtech will grow in 2020, and in Singapore companies have become more data-centric and require the appropriate talent.

As businesses undergo their transformation journey in Malaysia and Indonesia, there will be a demand for talent experienced in implementing such projects, to ensure a smooth implementation with appropriate change management.

Technology and Transformation findings for Indonesia.
Technology and Transformation findings for Indonesia.

Assure jobseekers they will see opportunity and growth

The report also highlights that employers will need to court jobseekers with assurances that they will be able to learn and develop while doing their work. Meanwhile in Singapore, it is noted if a job offers good learning opportunities and exposure, hires would be more open to non-permanent roles, such as being on contract or interim.

Yearly salary increments are likely to be modest to fair (3%-8% in Malaysia, 8% in Indonesia, 1%-7% in Singapore). Malaysians who get promoted or change jobs can look forward to an increment of 15%-20% (30% in niche cases), while Indonesians will look forward to 15%-30%.

However, in Singapore, there is a gap between what a candidate expects when moving roles (5%-20% salary increments) and what companies are willing to pay (0-12%).

Technology and Transformation findings for Singapore.
Technology and Transformation findings for Singapore.

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