The top industries expected to hire throughout 2023 in Malaysia

Despite many countries facing recessions, Malaysia’s labour market continues to experience high levels of employment. Tom Osborne, Managing Director of Hays Southeast Asia, says this should provide jobseekers with the confidence they need to act on their career goals. 

Professionals often make resolutions at the beginning of the year, leading to thoughts of change and progression within their careers and promises of finding a new role in the year ahead. However, given the economic uncertainty facing many countries, some professionals could be reluctant to act on their goals. 

The 2023 Hays Asia Salary Guide which surveyed over 10,000 employers and professionals around the region projected a 56.5 per cent staff level increase in Malaysia this year. 66.6 per cent of employers in the country expressed confidence in their ability to hire the skilled talent they need. 

Now halfway through 2023, Natasha Ishak, Regional Director of Hays Malaysia shares the top industries that are currently hiring in Malaysia, including which roles are in demand throughout 2023: 


Heavy Industries / Manufacturing

Despite a subdued manufacturing index in Q2, recruitment among firms remained competitive, with firms continuing to increase staffing level1. Demand for project managers with Project Management Professional certification and R&D engineers with experience in product design and process development remained strong as forward-thinking companies look towards supplementing product innovation for the coming season. 

Out on the production line, the heavy machinery and manufacturing industry is increasingly turning to automation for cost savings and efficiency considerations. Nowhere is this more evident with the rising demand for automation engineers equipped with PLC Programming and Electrical Engineering Skills to meet this growth. 

An increasing focus towards environmental, social & governance (ESG) initiatives has also led to a push for sustainability specialists looking to take up roles in manufacturing. 

Natasha stated, “Demand for manufacturing based roles remain strong this year. Talented engineers are crucial to establish the groundwork for a future in which industries are prepared to face crises, minimising operational disruption and enhancing overall efficiency.” 


Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Retail 

With consumer spending expected to trend upwards for the remainder of the year2, the FMCG sector has responded by increasing hiring for demand planners and supply planners to ensure the supply chain can continue meeting adjusted demands. Demand and supply management, strategic sourcing and cost optimisation skills were highly touted for these roles, with knowledge of enterprise software and analytics software being critical skills for success. 

The increase in customer data over the pandemic period has also necessitated hiring for customer relationship managers (CRM) and loyalty managers capable of leveraging this data and executing marketing strategies to increase conversion rates. Larger multinational retail brands are also leaning towards marketing managers to help drive regional goals and execute 360 marketing on a local basis. 

Although the pandemic has brought many shoppers back into physical stores, ecommerce continues to provide businesses with revenue streams and a means of liquefying excess inventory stockpiled because of the pandemic. This has facilitated the demand for more digital marketing managers with experience in social media, paid ads and marketing promotion planning. 

As with Manufacturing, increased interest in championing ESG initiatives has led to more sourcing for candidates with sustainability expertise. Communications managers able to relay sustainability achievements to stakeholders and media are in high demand. 


Shared Services Center 

With the economy fully reopened, the market has swiftly recognised the evolving workplace and business requirements, highlighting the crucial role of the finance function in driving organisational success across industries. In 2023, the focus on people and staff retention within the shared services sector remains resolute, particularly for positions such as finance project managers, financial planning analysts, country financial controllers and finance operation specialists. 

Organisations are proactively accelerating hiring efforts to secure candidate fluent in various foreign languages, a necessity for international business models such as offshoring that require effective communication across borders for seamless operations and collaboration. 



The global pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and while it was a priority for many businesses pre-pandemic, it became a necessity overnight. Particularly in Malaysia, this has spotlighted the need for digital transformation specialists with knowledge of robotic process automation (RPA). 

As digital transformation accelerates, so do the threats that companies face today. Enterprises recognise the need to enhance their defence strategies to effectively tackle these challenges and are actively striving to bridge any existing loopholes. Cyber security engineers capable of executing security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) will enjoy a leg-up over the competition. 

With big data continuing to play a pivotal role in providing cost-effective options in a wide range of use cases, organisations are cognisant of the need to be able to harness the amount of information available to them. Data Analysts proficient in AWS or Azure GCP remain highly coveted for this reason. 

As the qualification bar for technology talent rises in 2023, DevOps and Cloud Engineers continue to enjoy high demand across the industry, and candidates with a good balance of technical skills (Oracle ERP, Python, Java and R, Perl, Ruby etc) will be top picks. 

Natasha shares: “Tech leaders in the country are making significant steps toward moving industries into the digital economy. Professionals possessing these highly regarded skills are well-positioned to succeed in the ever-changing job market. 


Banking and Financial Services

The hiring trend for front office positions remains strong, highlighting substantial growth opportunities in the market. Relationship managers, catering to both corporate and commercial segments, are witnessing high demand from employers. To excel in these sought-after roles, candidates are encouraged to possess Professional Credit Certification (PCC) or hold the esteemed designation of Certified Credit Executive (CCE). 

The compliance sector has observed an upsurge in demand for professionals with advanced technical skills, including SAS, Python or R. Financial institutions are increasingly focusing on stress tests for credit risk assessments, prompting the need for individuals proficient in these programming languages. Concurrently, banks are actively bolstering their internal controls through the recruitment of experienced internal auditors well-versed in regulatory reporting, AML advisory and transaction monitoring. 

In response to the growing emphasis on ESG practices within the sector, the hiring landscape has witnessed an intensified search for bankers specialising in risk management. This development aligns with Bank Negara Malaysia's recent mandate requiring financial institutions to account for climate change factors when evaluating risk exposure. 

Natasha closes with, “The traditional notions of work are evolving, with new industries, roles and skill requirements still emerging. In these dynamic times, businesses and jobseekers need to be agile and flexible in their approach to meet the evolving needs of the market. 


About Hays Malaysia
Agensi Pekerjaan Hays (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd ("Hays Malaysia") is one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Malaysia in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions. We provide mid to senior level recruitment services across both finance and commerce industries. We have become known as the experts in sourcing regional and global candidates, as well as returning Malaysians.
Hays has been in Malaysia since 2012 and boasts a track record of success and growth, with two operating offices located in KLCC and Sunway. At Hays in Malaysia, we operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Engineering, Human Resources, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Marketing & Digital, Procurement, Supply Chain, Sales and Technology.


About Hays
Hays plc (the "Group") is the world leading specialist in recruitment and workforce solutions, such as RPO and MSP. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2021 the Group employed c.12,100 staff operating from 254 offices. For the year ended 30 June 2021:

– the Group reported net fees of £918.1 million and operating profit of £95.1 million;

– the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 220,000 people into temporary roles;

– 17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);

– the temporary placement business represented 61% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 39% of net fees;

– Technology is the Group’s largest specialism, with 26% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (14%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest