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Want a new job? Malaysian employers expect like-for-like experience


Malaysia’s job market may be very active with a growing list of skills in demand, but a leading recruiter warns that unless you have like-for-like experience, including the right industry background, employers will not consider you.

In its latest Hays Quarterly Report for July to September 2015, recruiting experts Hays finds that people who can increase sales, make cost reductions and ensure regulatory compliance are amongst those in highest demand – provided they have the right background.

“Despite a growing list of skills in demand, employers remain very specific in the skills they want and this includes like-for-like industry experience,” says Tom Osborne, Country Manager of Hays in Malaysia. “They will not consider candidates without the exact background that their role requires.

“Soft skills are a second requirement and if a candidate does not display good interpersonal and communication skills they will not receive a job offer.

“We also continue to see a preference from employers for local professionals for most jobs.”

In other trends, the Hays Quarterly Report confirms that permanent jobs remain the focus and vacancy activity results from both the need to replace departing staff as well as the creation of new roles.

Hays also points to our booming shared services centres industry as a driver of vacancy activity. “There is a positive outlook in the industry as international organisations want shared services centres in Malaysia in order to take advantage of local skilled labour and language capabilities,” said Tom.

So where is staffing demand highest? A selection of skills in demand from the Hays Quarterly Report for the July to September quarter includes:


• Good Sales Managers are sought across all industries to replace staff who were unable to deliver on their targets, as well as to fill new roles created in response to business growth.
• There has been a recent surge in the need for National Sales Managers to head up sales across the country and across different industries. This is due to the constant growth we are seeing in Malaysia; as companies grow in size, more salespeople are sought.
• In the FMCG industry Key Account Managers are in high demand as businesses need to manage large retailers.
• In the banking and financial services industry Transaction Banking Sales professionals are needed. Employers want trade finance and cash management candidates with a sales background.
• In the oil & gas industry employers want Project Management Engineers for bids who can support Proposal Managers in preparing technical and commercial offers for the fabrication scope of projects. Employers also want Regional Business Development Managers and Sales Managers who are based in Malaysia for cost-efficiency reasons.

Cost reduction:

Financial planning and analysis professionals are highly sought after within FMCG and service industries. Organisations want a financial plan in place and also want to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Logistics Managers are sought by manufacturing companies, especially export businesses. Employers want to stay competitive by delivering the right products, in the right quantity, to the right place at the right time and at the lowest cost possible.
• Experienced Procurement Managers are increasingly sought across all sectors. Companies seeking to reduce costs in order to increase profits want experienced professionals with a strong track record in vendor development, management and cost savings.

Regulatory compliance:

Financial Reporting experts are needed. In tandem with tightening regulations and the shift of requirements from Basel II to Basel III, there is a constant demand for candidates with relevant local skill sets and experience.
Corporate Finance professionals are also sought. The tightening of regulatory requirements and associated staffing demand over the last few years has created a shortage of corporate finance candidates, particularly within the banking industry.
Internal Audit and Compliance candidates are needed too in response to increasing requirements from The Central Bank and a tightening of current regulations.

Shortage of IT talent:

• Malaysia continues to experience a shortage of IT talent, with Java Developers one area of high demand. Many large businesses and shared services centres in Malaysia use Java as their main language, which naturally creates high demand for these skills. Many businesses are typically recruiting 10 or more Developers at any one time.
C# Developers are needed too since almost every business has some sort of Microsoft technology.
• Within the finance technology market we’re seeing high demand for Project Managers. New system projects require candidates with both infrastructure and application experience.
• With new upgrades as well as enhancements to existing systems taking place, capable Change Managers are sought to ensure the process runs smoothly.

HR needs grow:

• Large organisations with large headcounts need HR Business Partners to strategise and execute HR plans across different business units.
Compensation & Benefits professionals are also needed to carry out competitive salary benchmarking, determine remuneration packages and execute retention strategies.

To see the full list of skills in demand and trends for your industry, please visit

Hays is located in Kuala Lumpur at Suite 4 & 5, Level 23, Menara 3, Petronas, Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Phone +60 3 2786 8600 or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or


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