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Malaysia seeks out local talent to fill new job vacancies: Hays Quarterly Hotspots


Commercial Finance Managers, HR Business Partners, Offshore Structural Engineers and Business Development Managers are just four of the skills in demand as growth in Malaysia’s economy remains resilient, says recruiting experts Hays in Malaysia.


ShareIn the fourth quarter of 2013 Malaysias economy expanded at a rate of 5.1 per cent, the fastest pace in four quarters. The economy grew 4.7 percent last year after a 5.6 percent expansion in 2012.


According to the recruiter’s latest Hays Quarterly Hotspots list of skills in demand, local talent is becoming increasingly sought after but skills gaps remain, especially in the oil & gas industry.


“In the coming months, the number of jobs in the market is expected to increase as most employers plan to increase their headcount,” says Chris Mead, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia & Singapore.


“Recruitment activity over the quarter ahead will be a mixture of replacements and newly created roles as companies look to strengthen their teams in key areas.”


The focus on promoting local talent is gathering momentum in Malaysia. TalentCorp, an organisation established by the Malaysian Government to address the availability of talent in line with the needs of the country’s economic transformation, is rolling out a number of new initiatives in order to help promote the development of local talent in the oil and gas industry.


“In the oil & gas sector we are seeing increased demand for local Offshore Structural Engineers, Process Managers, Senior Reservoir Engineers, Senior Geoscientists and HSE Engineers. Returning Malaysians with the required skills are also very much in the spotlight as they are entitled to reduced tax rates and other benefits via TalentCorp,” says Chris.


“We also expect that new jobs will be created in the areas of marketing, research, pricing, coordinating and corporate planning as companies act to empower their sales force.”


A selection of skills in demand from the Hays Quarterly Hotspots for April to June 2014 follows:


  • Commercial Finance Managers – As Malaysian businesses become more commercially orientated they are looking for local talent to improve productivity. Malaysia’s typical Finance Manager is transactional and finance focused, and lacks general business experience and commercial exposure. As a result, Commercial Finance Managers are in high demand to fill the skills gap.


  • Financial Controllers - Locally based Financial Controllers with multinational experience are in demand, especially from FMCG and light manufacturing organisations. But a supply shortage exists as companies typically have a solid retention plan in place to keep candidates at this level, and offer a strong package to create a sense of loyalty.


  • CFOs – Locally based candidates with genuine multinational experience are in demand. As many of the CFO positions within multinational companies have been occupied by expatriates, this has led to a shortage within the local market.


  • Investment Managers – Demand for candidates with expertise in specific asset classes (derivatives, private equity, foreign exchange and fixed income) has significantly increased this financial year, mostly in the middle and back offices.


  • HR Business Partners Strategic HR Business Partners are still sought after as their niche skills are highly in demand in the Malaysian market. The role of Business Partner is traditionally viewed as very operational. High demand exists for strategic Business Partners with vision who can balance human resource programs with business priorities.


  • Regional Human Resources Managers A number of new multinational companies view Malaysia as a strategic location and a good environment in which to set up a regional office for the South East Asia region. Human Resources Managers with both experience in handling workforces in different countries and regional and matrix reporting are in high demand.


  • Talent Managers Organisations are looking to identify the right talent at the right time

for their succession pipelines. They are also examining their retention strategies to ensure key critical skills are kept within their organisations. As a result, they are recruiting talent management professionals.


  • Human Resources Managers (Manufacturing) More and more multinational companies see Malaysia as a location where they can establish manufacturing plants, since the costs involved are relatively low here compared to other countries. Hence HR Managers who are strong in industrial relations, Malaysia employment law and have experience in negotiating collective agreements with large manufacturing workforces are highly sought after.


  • IT Security High demand exists for experienced IT Security candidates as IT security implementation has shifted from insurance companies to banks. Previously insurance companies had a need for IT Security implementers, but demand has now shifted towards IT Security monitoring/auditing candidates in the insurance sector.


  • Enterprise Architects These professionals continue to be in high demand in the Malaysian market. Having no service line constrictions, these candidates are sought after in the financial and telecommunication industries. These skill sets are also needed by IT consultancy employers servicing the financial industry. Most skill sets revolve around mainframe computers as most of the large banks in Malaysia are still using this technology.


  • Software Developers – In response to the expansion of the global IT industry and the need to deliver service quality, these professionals are in high demand in all IT businesses. Candidates need to be able to direct and deliver the project within a set timeframe. AGILE methodology experience is in particularly strong demand.


  • Program/Project Managers (PMP) – While the number of project managers is likely to increase due to the rising demand for their skills, there is a significant split between certified and uncertified Project Managers. However, awareness of the discipline has also increased in the general workforce and more employees will be expected to have or acquire project management skills. 


  • Offshore Structural Engineers – A high number of offshore projects have recently been awarded to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies around the region. This has created demand for local structural engineering talent.


  • Process Managers – Many strategic projects are being developed across the region in the downstream business, creating demand for Process Managers. This is a fast growing area and there is a shortage of experienced and available local talent.


  • Senior Reservoir Engineers – As the industry continues to develop and new players come into the market, we are seeing increased demand for experienced local professionals. The increasing focus on mature fields is also driving demand for candidates with exposure in this area


  • Senior Geoscientists – Most operating companies working on production sharing and risk service contracts are focused on promoting local talent. But while there are candidates available, they are in high demand and this is having a significant impact on salary expectations.


  • HSE Engineers – Both operators and EPC companies are seeking experienced candidates in this area. The focus is purely on local talent, including returning Malaysians.


  • Business Development ManagersThere is a need for Business Development Managers in various industries. These professionals are needed to maintain relationships and continue bringing in new business from existing clients.


  • Brand Managers – By pushing brands instead of general products to the market, Brand Managers are considered to be more efficient in company promotion as they are more targeted in their marketing efforts. Consequently demand for these professionals is high.


  • Marketing/Pricing Analysts – Companies are starting to realise the importance of these support roles to boost the dynamics of their sales teams.


For the full list of skills in demand, please view our Hays Quarterly Hotspots.


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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