Businesses Incur RM56.6 Billion Losses In Productivity A Year

A recent survey by Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions – We Power the Nation – People & Productivity survey, found that RM6.46 million is lost every hour from administration activities in Malaysia. In a year, this totals to RM56.6 billion lost from administration activities.

The survey, commissioned by Sage and carried out by YouGov, a leading market research and data analytics firm, polled 3,000 small and medium businesses in 12 countries around the world including Malaysia. It investigated productivity loss and how future investments in technology impact people, productivity and businesses in the long term.

Among other results of the survey is Malaysian businesses believe digital upskilling is a key solution to address productivity with almost half (46 percent) of business leaders  consider digital skills a priority investment and over three quarters (78%) of businesses are planning on digital skills investments.

The survey also found revealed that  56% of respondents see improvements in productivity, profitability and customer service as a result of digital investments while 52% business are seeking government subsidised technology and tax breaks. It also showed that free training would help improve digital skills.

The major productivity loss of nearly RM60 billion each year can be addressed through effective software solutions that support increased efficiency which help HR and Finance functions eliminate the burden of administration.

Malaysian companies are already in the process of digital upskilling and research reveals that many also look towards the Government for support to solve this productivity puzzle.

“What we see on the ground with our small and medium enterprise (SME) customers in
Malaysia has been very encouraging as they see upskilling as a necessity. They are highly
interested in learning and developing themselves to increase their productivity.

“Looking ahead, I believe what is needed is for the education system to futureproof the students of today by embracing new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and expose students to the latest software and computer programming skills.

“This is crucial not only to the nation’s productivity, but can also help elevate Malaysia in its
quest to attract foreign investment,” said Arlene Wherrett, Vice President and Managing Director of Sage Asia.

“The Malaysian education system should embed new and engaging curriculum to introduce
these technologies early to prepare young adults entering the workforce of the future” she
further added.

The Education Ministry was the biggest recipient of the 2020 Budget with an allocation of
RM64.1 billion, RM3.9 billion more than the previous year’s allocation.

Efforts such as the mainstreaming of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with a budget of RM5.9 billion, and the RM192 million allocated for professional certificationprogrammes under Yayasan Peneraju are steps in the right direction.
The RM210 million earm arked to accelerate deployment of new digital infrastructure for public buildings such as schools could help provide the facilities needed for students to learn the necessary digital skills.

“We are very encouraged to see the numerous government efforts in addressing the digital
upskilling gap within the recent budget as these will help set the right foundation. It is also
important that there are frequent checkpoints within the schools and universities to ensure
relevance of courses as the goal is to create a talented workforce that is digitally savvy and on par with global standards,” said Wherrett.

The Government is realising the necessity for such checkpoints as exemplified by their actions in September, when the Department of Higher Education dropped 38 academic programmes in 19 universities that were no longer relevant to the current and future job market demands.

Another forward-looking action by the Government is their commitment to provide investment packages of RM1 billion a year for five years to attract Fortune 500 firms in hi-tech, manufacturing, creative and economic sectors.

“To attract and sustain investment from globally renowned companies, the Malaysian workforce needs to have the right skill sets to fulfill the requirements of these companies. Because education is a leading determinant of employment, earnings and economic growth, Malaysian education must expose students to digital upskilling at a young age to ensure they can meet the future trends in the job market,” added Wherrett.

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