MALAYSIA’S TOP TEN TALENT TRENDS FOR 2022
In the year ahead, digital transformation will play a key role in shaping growth strategies, in line with the government’s push for digitalisation, and is expected to create new roles in some sectors and changing role requirements in others.
At the same time, people have been changing their approach to evaluating potential jobs. The disruption caused by the pandemic has spurred people to reflect on what they want out of their careers, making them more selective about the companies they choose to join. Across sectors, candidates are asking employers for the flexibility to work from home, better work-life balance, and favouring companies with an automated or integrated tech ecosystem.
With multiple sectors anticipating a return to growth in 2022 and headcounts expected to rise, employers will need to strengthen their talent attraction and retention strategies in order to remain competitive. And while the market might be supply short in certain sectors, candidates should continue to focus on upskilling themselves to prove their relevance and value.
Read on for Hays Malaysia’s top ten talent trends in 2022 and/or download your exclusive Hays Malaysia Top Ten Trends for 2022 infographic available in PDF format for digital or print use
1. Accelerated digitalisation driving demand for Tech professionals
The accelerated pace of digitalisation that is happening across nearly all industries is expected to continue well into the new year, driven by the need for sustainability, ever-increasing data volumes, and higher computing and network speeds. This will drive up the demand for programmers, data engineers, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) developers with solid technical skills. IT/Tech professionals looking to enter the job market should focus on upskilling with new programming languages and keep abreast of new developments in their field to get an edge over their competition.
With a notable rise in cyber-attacks globally since the pandemic began, the demand for cybersecurity professionals with cloud and artificial intelligence experience is also expected to grow as the year progresses.
2. Hybrid roles on the rise in Banking and Finance
Malaysia’s Banking and Financial Services sector is undergoing rapid digital transformation. Not only are more banks and insurers moving back-end operations from manual environments to automated systems, the central bank is also set to issue digital banking licences in the coming year. As a result, we’re noting a rising preference for candidates with a mix of finance and tech skills, with employers specifically looking out for experience with IT systems and automation, implementation, or migration projects. Data analytics skills and proficiency in business intelligence tools like Qlikview, Tableau, Power BI are also emerging as critical skillsets for finance professionals.
Hybrid governance roles specialising in analytics, such as Surveillance Analytics, Audit Analytics, and Risk Analytics are fast becoming critical hires, which puts candidates with programming knowledge at an advantage. Additionally, with more banks beginning to adopt ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) strategies into their risk frameworks, we foresee a greater focus on sustainability within Financial Services in the next twelve months. As there is a pronounced shortage of ESG-experienced talent in Malaysia, candidates with an interest in sustainability should work on upskilling themselves in this area.
3. The rise of customer-centric and data-driven marketing
Businesses are increasingly adopting customer-centric marketing strategies and taking action to drive customer engagement digitally. This has led to two key growth areas within the Marketing sector – Customer Experience Journey and Content Marketing. Employers will be on the lookout for marketing talent with the skills to develop online touchpoints and drive customer acquisition and retention through strategic targeting and engaging content.
Furthermore, the digital transformation that many businesses are undergoing has brought greater accessibility of data and business intelligence tools across functions. As a result, data-driven marketing roles will also begin to grow in importance as businesses seek to measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategy and activities.
4. Shared Services Centres transforming into Centres of Excellence
Malaysia has long been a hotspot for Shared Service Centres (SSC), due to low site costs, cultural diversity and language capabilities, and growing finance and tech capabilities. Case in point, despite being in the thick of the pandemic last year, many multinational corporations (MNCs) continued to set up and expand their SSCs in the country.
As the country recovers and reopens its borders to the world, we expect more MNCs to not only establish their regional hubs here, but to transform them from transactional hubs into Centres of Excellence with expanded functions including Financial Planning & Analysis, CAST (Compliance, Audit, Statutory, Tax) teams, Costing, Business Analysts, and Finance Transformation. Given this, the demand for talent with skills and experience in analytics, process improvements, data visualisation, and RPA implementation will see a huge boost in the coming year.
5. Company secretarial roles to require legal expertise
Company secretarial positions have typically seen consistent demand across sectors year on year and in 2022, we expect a surge in hiring as businesses resume operations, especially in the TMT (Technology, Media, and Telcom), SSC, and Financial Services space. This comes with a caveat, however, as employers are increasingly expecting candidates to demonstrate legal expertise alongside the usual interpersonal, communication, and writing skills.
Candidates who are keen on entering the TMT space will have the advantage if they have exposure to IT agreements, multi-jurisdictional negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate commercial experience. Meanwhile, companies in the property, retail, entertainment, and hospitality space with company secretarial roles to fill will need to provide more competitive offers as there has been a noticeable trend of candidates shying away from these sectors in recent years.
6. Generalist Human Resources roles making a comeback
The pandemic has completely redefined the Human Resources function within organisations. Employers are now seeking HR generalist candidates with experience in transformation and strategic planning, as well as Learning and Development professionals well-versed at handling remote learning, remote engagement, and at revamping employee best practices.
Additionally, with digital transformation and automation ramping up within HR, prospective candidates should also demonstrate proficiency at virtual engagement and learning. Demand for HR Managers outside of Klang Valley is also predicted to increase due to the revival of the Manufacturing sector causing companies to set up new facilities outside of established industrial areas.
7. A reset for Insurers following pandemic shakeup
With numbers of Life Insurance and Family Takaful policy holders skyrocketing, competition is heating up within the Insurance space. As a result, we expect demand to grow in the coming months for product development, pricing, and sales roles as companies concentrate on drumming up business. There’s also a growing appetite for actuarial talent as insurers strive for strong financial standing and risk management.
At the same time, the industry is also undergoing rapid adoption of digitalisation and e-commerce platforms, which means we will see a jump in demand for candidates in senior management roles and who are familiar with digital partnership acquisition in the coming months.
On top of this, with IFRS17, the newest standard for insurance contracts coming into effect by 2023, the competition for finance and actuarial talents with familiar with the implementation process will soar in the coming months. However, as there is a limited pool of candidates for these roles, employers will need to be ready to meet their demands for better compensation and work-life balance.
8. Semiconductor industry braces for a surge in activity
All eyes are on Malaysia, a key player in the global semiconductor supply chain, to ease the global semiconductor bottleneck in the months ahead as the wave of infections slow and pandemic restrictions are lifted. After all, Malaysia is the largest semiconductor trading partner of the United States, accounting for 7 per cent of global semiconductor trade.
The reopening of border and revival is expected to create new opportunities for companies to expand their engineering teams, which will in turn push up the demand for engineering talent. In particular, candidates with skills and experience in R&D will be critical hires and can thus expect multiple generous offers. Companies looking to get ahead of the competition should start planning their hiring pipeline early and act fast on the right talent before they are snapped up.
9. Return to growth for Sales sector
The revival of the oil and gas sector, increase in government investments in technology, and an e-commerce boom are driving the anticipated comeback of the Sales sector. However, employers are increasingly looking for candidates who can not only sell but who also possess other related skillsets such as marketing, digital, and IT, as well as resilience and agility.
Rapid growth is anticipated in the Technology, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), Food Retailers, Logistics, and Industrial sectors as a result of digital transformation, pushing up the demand for e-commerce and strategic sales professionals in the coming months. While traditional sales roles are predicted to remain stable, the increase in digitalisation and virtualisation of brick-and-mortar stores might result in employers hiring more contract or remote employees over permanent staff.
10. Technical skills will give Life Sciences professionals an edge
The Life Sciences sector, brought to prominence as a result of the pandemic is set to flourish as COVID-19 becomes endemic. Significant hiring activity is expected for both replacement and growth within the pharmaceutical, medical, and healthcare industries, as well as to boost medical tourism recovery as border restrictions are lifted. The demand for marketing and product management talent across various therapeutic areas will stay consistent in the coming months, while sales representative, applications, and sales service positions in the medical device segment focusing on COVID-19 diagnostics and related biotechnology areas will grow in response to flourishing businesses.
In general, candidates should possess remote management experience and be well-versed with relevant systems and technology. With new roles like Medical Science Liaisons, Medical Affairs, and Regulatory Affairs growing in prominence, the ideal candidate should meet the stringent technical requirements, be familiar with relevant systems and technology, have remote management experience, and be fluent in Mandarin, Japanese, or Korean in order to support regional roles.
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