2023 Information Technology (IT) Trends – Randstad Malaysia
Randstad Malaysia 2023 Market Outlook & Salary Snapshot – Information Technology (IT)
- Article is taken from Randstad 2023 Market Outlook & Salary Snapshot
- Technology will be the focal point of growth in Malaysia in the coming years. The digital technology industry is projected to contribute 22.6% GDP by 2025.
- Correspondingly, digital job vacancies have tripled from 19,000 to 56,000 within a year and 5G technology developments will create 750,000 jobs by 2023 in Malaysia alone.
- According to Arizton, more than $2 billion will be invested in the development of data centres across Malaysia by 2027
The ever-changing global economy and technology’s rapid advancement continue to drive Malaysia’s proactive and innovative approach towards the digital economy. A joint report from Meta and Bain & Company forecasted Malaysia to have the highest proportion of digital consumers in the region at 99%.
Correspondingly, government initiatives such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) and the National Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Policy push for more effective cybersecurity practices and the adoption of advanced technologies.
From consumer banking to logistics, every industry and consumer in Malaysia interact with technology every
day. Companies are constantly investing to improve their technology usability and security to provide a better experience for their customers, which would pave the way for new entrants and job creation in development and enterprise technologies
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What are the 2023 Information Technology (IT) Trends for Malaysia?
Vibrant developments in cloud computing, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain will continue in 2023.
Most companies, even start-ups, are moving towards Web3 technologies. As the third iteration of the World
Wide Web, Web3 envisions a decentralised and open Web that integrates blockchain technologies and token-based economics.
In response to the recent industry shake-ups led by the collapse of high-profile cryptocurrencies and
retrenchments, companies venturing into Web3 will adopt a sharper and more prudent growth and hiring strategy. Cost optimisation, productivity and lead time on returns would also drive the majority of business decisions next year.
The transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain industries will benefit from automation. In contrast, the banking, financial services and insurance sectors are in a constant state of transformation to keep up with evolving customer and business demands
5G will drive talent hiring
The highly anticipated 5G rollout in Malaysia is underway, and the developments will further advance web evolutions and create an estimated 39,000 value-add jobs.
Malaysia’s 5G implementation, led by Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB), will provide an enabling environment to grow the local digital economy. With the nation’s major mobile carriers on board, we anticipate a boost in talent and business demands to test out the full capabilities of the country’s 5G infrastructure.
Already, companies are driving up the demand for 5G-specific technical professionals like network and
infrastructure project managers in manufacturing, transportation, finance, and retail
data centre developments
Owing to its stable network connectivity and high internet penetration, Malaysia remains a preferred data centre location in Southeast Asia, next only to Singapore and Indonesia.
Between 2022 and 2027, MNCs will invest more than US$2 billion to develop Malaysia-based data centres, to provide improved cloud computing services to the region as more businesses will rely on cloud solutions as they undergo further digital transformation.
Cyberjaya is at the heart of this development, with 14 of its data centre facilities contributing 75% of the existing capacity in Malaysia. In the coming years, data centre supply will see a three-fold increase from another 15 announced and under-construction projects with co-location operators.
Highly regulated and restricted industries, such as banking, are ramping up data centre development and
capabilities because of their high computing, processing, and security requirements.
Additionally, rapid advancements in cloud technology used across other industries means that operators must constantly upgrade existing data centres to meet business and customers’ needs.
course corrections within the technology space
Tech giants and unicorns have announced retrenchments and hiring freezes towards the second half of 2022.
Some companies have attributed recent restructuring to a poorer economic outlook as well as over-hiring and inflated wages, which had diluted overall profitability and productivity.
Big tech business Meta let go of more than 11,000 employees, or about 13% of its workforce, to become a
leaner and more efficient company. Global e-commerce giant Amazon is also set to ‘consolidate some teams and programmes’ under its devices, retail, and human resources divisions, leading to approximately 10,000 job cuts.
In Southeast Asia, major e-commerce player Shopee made the news when it slashed jobs in Malaysia and three other countries to optimise operations and achieve self-sufficiency.
These changes can be seen as a reflection of how business demands have changed over the course of the
pandemic. Now that the pandemic is behind us, business leaders are course correcting their growth plans and focussing their resources on products and solutions that would define them as a company as well as drive higher returns.
Resource optimisation would be a key priority as employers evaluate skills requirements much more
closely. The market should expect a slowdown in hiring activities in the first half of 2023, as companies focus their hiring strategies for more highly skilled technologists to gain a stronger advantage and competition in the market.
Employers will also have a greater focus on workforce retention to continue service delivery. Tech professionals working on older technology, legacy systems or projects that are at risk of being phased out
in the face of Web3 and 5G developments, will need to find internal upskilling and mobility opportunities to retain their job security.
despite shake-ups, all is not lost
On a more positive note, these business restructurings have created ‘market downtime’ that allow tech talent
to pursue new careers and projects to expand their portfolios and acquire new skills. Some software developers and web designers are freelancing for smaller projects or creating their own, which would further hone their skills and make them more attractive to employers.
This may lead to an ‘open source’ job market, where technical employers evaluate projects in the marketplace to find their next hire instead of going through the normal interview process.
Hiring trends are often cyclical and seasonal and shall pass. Based on what we have observed over the years,
these hiring trends—layoffs and hiring freezes—are part of the cycle that tests a company’s resilience and
adaptability. Businesses prepared for radical changes will be the first to find opportunities in obstacles.
Start-ups developed ride-hailing services and super apps because of changing customer behaviours and demands. This has motivated other companies, like those in financial and travel services, to expand their digital and mobile offerings.
To adapt to these new realities, employers must develop smart hiring strategies to ensure they have the best
people, skills, and expertise capable of driving change.
the race for IT talent
As it is, there is a stark skills gap within the technology industry. Countries and companies are strategising to address this global tech labour shortage. For example, Singapore, Thailand, and Dubai have introduced new work visas to attract in-demand senior technologists. Companies worldwide are also raising their remuneration packages to appeal to hard-to-find IT talent.
With all these compelling packages, it is no surprise tech professionals in Malaysia look elsewhere for opportunities. Relocating to another country is not just about working in a job with higher pay, but also living in a place that offers higher standards of living, better foreign exchange rates and more career growth opportunities.
One suggestion to counter this talent drain is to position Malaysia as the destination to work and live in Southeast Asia. The digital nomad pass is one such initiative designed by the government to attract digital professionals from all over the world. Issued by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the pass lets inbound digital nomads, or remote workers in the digital economy space, enjoy the agency’s curated co-working facilities and services.
Another more impactful and comprehensive strategy that companies can implement to close the skills gap in
Malaysia is to upskill the existing workforce. Employers should actively identify skills gaps that stop the company from meeting its goals, and then evaluate the capabilities of its current workforce to develop
job transformation roadmaps to resolve deep-seated workforce competency issues.
For 2023, in-demand development and enterprise IT jobs include:
- software engineers
- data engineers
- data scientists
- AI agents
- cloud engineers
- DevOps engineers
- cybersecurity specialists
- IoT consultants
2023 talent expectations
With fears of a recession in 2023, the uncertain economic outlook will pull job candidates into opposite extremes:
- some will actively look for jobs, while others may take
- a more cautious approach when considering a career switch.
Conservative candidates are careful about where they want to move next. While they do not necessarily want to switch jobs, they will be open to new opportunities that can boost their careers.
On the other hand, employees in the throes of retrenchment and layoffs are likely to find employers that can offer better job and income security.
promote total compensation and benefits package to attract talent
Candidates are expecting to receive a 20% to 30% salary increase when they switch employers in 2023. Companies that offer less than a 20% pay increment will likely face challenges in attracting talent.
Employers with a smaller hiring budget next year would need to be more creative in their total remuneration package to stay competitive in a talent-short recruitment market
Project-based allowances and bonuses for performance and project completion can help attract talent. Higher commission on target earnings for those in sales positions can also be an attractive financial reward that will appeal to job seekers.
Other financial benefits that are particularly useful to attract talent and improve the overall employee
experience include fuel or transport allowances, food subsidies and unlimited annual leave. However, if there is one benefit that we know employees prioritise, it is flexible working arrangement.
Respondents in the Randstad’s Reimagine Work white paper said that work-life balance stems from having better control over their work and personal time. Without the commute, employees can exercise more flexibility in their lives while working from home, helping them live a better balanced lifestyle.
promote training and development opportunities
As technology evolves, continuous and regular upskilling will be crucial to the organisation’s success.
Software engineers will take on more projects to deepen their Web3 capabilities and cybersecurity professionals will build customised processes to strengthen overall data protection for the company. These on-the-job exposures train employees to become more productive and equip them with skills to drive innovation.
Tech job seekers often expect a clear work plan for their first six to 12 months to understand their learning
opportunities and career progressions. It also helps create a sense of job security for the candidate, knowing that they will be working on projects that contribute to the company’s growth.
Senior-level candidates will want to know the challenges that they are expected to tackle in their first few weeks, and the fresh strategies they would need to develop to set the company in the right direction. On the other hand, managers want to know how they can grow their team’s capabilities and resources within the first year.
Despite these high expectations, most companies’ existing corporate onboarding programmes still leave
much to be desired for tech talent. Sometimes, employers just provide a folder or mandatory online training
programmes and expect trainees to learn independently, which is not the kind of training experience people expect to receive.
Many IT professionals prefer to receive personalised or customised training, either one-on-one or classroom style training so that they can ask questions and establish relationships within the organisation. They also value mentorship opportunities that can help improve their soft skills, such as time and stakeholder management.
promote job responsibilities and organisational culture
Despite the robust start-up scene in Malaysia, there is still a preference to work for larger companies. Many
candidates prefer working for a familiar brand or an established company with a larger presence as they
associate those businesses with more stability and job security, which may not be necessarily true.
Recent layoffs from tech giants indicate that even some of the biggest companies can make mistakes while trying to balance workforce planning and achieving profitability. We actively educate job searchers on how company sizes and maturity do not necessarily correlate with job and income stability, especially since people hardly work with only one employer throughout their whole work life.
Instead, we encourage talent to interview with companies that may be lesser known but offer promising career growth opportunities and a pleasant work environment. They will have the opportunity to acquire new skills and deepen their capabilities, which would make them more attractive talent to employers.
It is hence critical for small-and-medium enterprises and start-ups to share more information about what it is like to work in the company to help create clarity on how the company can support their growth in a supportive environment.
One of the ways that employers can do that is to invite the job applicant to meet with the rest of the employees during the final round of interview. This interaction helps them understand the synergy within the team as well as evaluate whether the environment fits them
win with employer branding
Amid uncertainties in the tech space in the early half of 2023, we advise employers to actively strengthen and promote their branding to stand out in a sea of companies vying for the same small talent pool.
The company website serves as a ‘storefront’ to attract and engage with new talent. Enhancing your digital
capabilities like search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, content marketing and talent engagement showcases your company’s ability and attracts talent who wants to work for you.
Article written by:
- jonathan sia
associate director, software, digital & emerging technology
- ashraf raffiudin
senior recruitment manager, enterprise technology