View from the Ground
Malaysia has had yet another robust year in the jobs market, owing to the ongoing shortage of in-demand talent across all industries, which is expected to continue into 2020. Candidates from technical backgrounds such as computer and information technology (IT), artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security and data science, have been in high demand as businesses look to advance their technological capabilities. This demand is also supported by the continued growth of Malaysia’s tech industry, which saw many fintech and eCommerce businesses receive funding to help them further service Southeast Asian markets. There is an especially high demand for candidates with strong project management skills, as companies are seeking out agents of change who can lead projects to further digitalise their businesses.
Tom Osborne, Managing Director, Hays Malaysia
Key Skills in Demand
- Programmers/Software Engineers
- Data Scientists/Analysts/Engineers
- Financial Technology Specialists
- Cyber Security ICT Engineers
- Mobile App Developers
Strong household spending and a temporary pick-up in export growth, notably of electronics, underpinned another year of robust GDP growth in Malaysia during 2018, as the economy grew by 4.6%. Looking forward, the economy faces rising external headwinds, in part due to falling Chinese demand for Malaysian exports, low oil prices lowering petroleum export earnings, and a tightening of global financial conditions. Growth is expected to average 4% over the coming five years.
In the labour market, female labour market participation has risen sharply. The participation rate for females was 50.9% in 2018, up from 43.1% in 2008, marking a decade of strong growth. If this trend continues, it will add to the availability of skilled labour over the next decade. This is already forecast to rise, as the UN predicts the population of working age will increase by 10.8% or 2.4 million between 2018 and 2028.