Robert Walters Commends Budget Initiatives for Workforce

Robert Walters, a leading recruitment firm, has commended the Malaysian government for their announcements in the Budget 2020 to strengthen the local workforce.

“We noted that digital skills was a key consideration in the recently tabled Budget for year 2020 and bringing women back into the workforce with incentives is a huge push to increase the talent pool for the middle and higher management positions moving forward,” shared Amanda Lee, Manager, Sales & Marketing (Consumer)of Robert Walters Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

The incentives to reduce unemployment and to increase foreign investment, especially from Fortune 500 companies was also viewed by the company as a major stepping stone in helping to shape the Malaysian workforce for the new decade. The initiatives under Malaysians@Work will help bring more talents into the workforce who can then be groomed to take on new roles that emerge in what is becoming a digitally supported or driven economy.

“Our newly launched e-guide titled- Grow Your Talent, Hire Based on Potential, is based on our conversations with hiring managers and talents across South East Asia. The guide clearly shows that employers need to invest nurturing their own pool of talent based on potential for the long term as it helps them fill vacant positions faster, nurture more loyalty and motivation and gives the role a new dimension when taken up by someone with a varying set of skills.

Based on hiring managers interviewed by our team, 94 percent of managers shared that candidates that they hired based on potential are still with them and are a valuable part of the team while 55 percent of talents interviewed shared that learning and growth opportunities are more important than higher salaries. This is the shift which digitalisation has brought. We have more to explore and develop in a job but it takes buy in from the employers and a risk appetite from the talents to make this happen,” added Doreen Ooi, Manager, Insurance and Financial Services Governance of Robert Walters Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

The incentives from the government for youth especially fresh graduates are also welcomed as this addresses the need for a larger talent pool who can adapt to cross skilling and take on new job functions created by digitalisation which were not traditionally present in the past. Jobs like data forensics require talents with specific skills set combinations like finance and data analytics with a touch of soft skills like communication.

Employers need to groom their talent to fit their needs and hire based on potential instead of looking to tick off check lists. Susan Chen, Senior Vice President – the Head of Talent Management, OD & International People & Culture of Gojek, a hiring manager to the e-guide interview, believes in asking two pertinent questions- what organisational problems are we trying to solve? and what impact do we expect the candidate to have?

“These may seem like simple questions but the order list for hiring after we gain the answers are sometimes close to impossible for talents to fulfill as there is always a need for a skill outside their professional capabilities or educational qualifications,” Amanda stated.

This is where hiring managers can step in and ease the process by first making sure that the job description is realistic, second is to differentiate the “must-have skills” from the “nice to have skills”, third is to start being more open to CVs that would normally be passed over especially for women returning to the workforce as a gap in their experience may be due to personal commitments, next they need to study the experience gained at prior jobs and look for signs of growth in those roles and what was their learning curve like.

“We are excited about the prospect of more women returning to the workforce in Malaysia with the Government’s initiatives, as this returning workforce will expand the talent pool for middle and higher management positions. Success in these positions in the long run will bring more women to the boardroom as decision makers which is also a long term goal of the Government,” enthused Doreen.

“Based on our experience and presence globally, we are witnessing a shift in job functions based on how businesses need to reach and speak to their target markets and stakeholders, so it is key for the hiring managers and talents to adapt to the new order of the day and broaden their search. Hiring based on potential can address some key problems in hiring like talent shortage, talent retention and new job functions that are a product of digitalisation and the Industry 4.0,” Amanda concluded.

The e-guide on growing talent looks at several key traits that hiring managers should look at when looking to fill a position which include willingness to learn, motivation and engagement which is not the typical boxes to cross out when considering candidates. More importantly, hiring managers should not wait for the perfect candidates to appear but rather take a chance and hire on potential, grow their talent internally to suit their needs and retain them in the long run.

The e-guide published in October 2019 is based on insights gained from interview with 13 individuals featured as well as external research. The statistics provided are based on a survey with 3,500 professionals and 1,200 hiring manager across South East Asia. Our contributors include Ascender, CENTRAL Group Vietnam, CIMB Bank, Frasers Law Company, Getz Healthcare, gojek, Home Credit, L’Oreal and Royal Bank of Canada.

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