Mixed messages: Malaysia’s SSCs need to clearly promote career progression to jobseekers


The continued growth of shared service centres (SSCs) in Malaysia is increasing demand for highly-skilled professionals, but Malaysians are receiving mixed messages about the career progression opportunities available in SSCs. Based on discussions between recruiting experts Hays and local SSCs in Malaysia, this adds to the challenges SSCs face when attempting to attract top talent.

A growing number of SSCs are being established in Malaysia and require senior candidates with specialised process knowledge who can have a positive impact on their growing operations. But according to feedback, candidates who would consider working in a SSC say career progression is the number one factor attracting their interest. At the same time, candidates who say they would not work in an SSC cite the lack of career progression as the number one reason. This suggests the industry faces a huge perception issue in Malaysia.

“The shared service industry is increasingly turning to the commercial arena to obtain the core skills required to move up the business value chain. By recruiting more highly-skilled professionals SSCs can develop their technical processes and analytics functions,” says Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia.

However, the industry is finding it challenging to attract high calibre talent as many candidates perceive SSCs as ‘cost centres’ and don’t want to limit their career progression.

To uncover some of the challenges in the SSC space, Hays spoke to 35 local SSCs (41% of the people we spoke to were process leads/head of departments) to understand what challenges they face when attracting and recruiting talent for their SSC. The majority (81%) were from Finance SSCs. We also spoke to 25 jobseekers about their perceptions of working in a SSC.

What did SSC employers say?
• The biggest talent-related challenges employers say they face are retaining skilled talent (73%), attracting skilled talent (57%), being able to offer career progression (43%) and salaries (38%).
• 57% of employers believe talent related challenges are a threat to the overall success of their SSC.
• Most popular staff retention tactics include training (97%), work-life balance (68%), career progression (65%) and other benefits (62%).
• Most popular allowances offered by employers in order are travel & transport (54%), shifts (41%), and meals (38%).
• 54% of employers said the average tenure of staff is 2-3 years.

What did candidates say?
• 54% of candidates said they would consider working in a shared service centre.
• Career progression (58%) and the experience they would gain (58%) would attract them to a job in a shared service centre.
• But 21% of candidates said they would not work in a shared service centre due to the lack of career progression opportunities (82%) and the negative perceptions of working at shared service centres (36%).

“The fact that career progression is the main detractor for candidates not wanting to work in SSCs, but also the main factor that attracts people who would work in an SSC, demonstrates that employers need to do more to establish formal career progression plans and promote them as part of their attraction strategy,” says Tom.

“Clearly there is an image issue in the market, with candidates confused about the benefits of working for a SSC and needing clear direction rather than conflicting messages.”

When talking to SSCs, Hays also found that 65% of employers said they offered career progression as a retention technique, but are employers doing enough to promote this to potential candidates? As Tom says, “Our advice to SSC employers in order for them to attract and retain highly-skilled talent, is to create clear career progression pathways including internal transfers to other job functions and business operations, and ensure they are promoting this as a key element of their attraction strategy.”

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 tom.osborne@hays.com.my

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

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For further information please contact Kerryn Celine, Senior Marketing Executive - South East Asia at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9844 or kerryn.celine@hays.com.au



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