Malaysia’s Digital Economy Drive Increases Demand For Technology Talents

Despite job market uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hays, a specialist recruitment, reported that businesses in Malaysia expect business activity to increase by 54 per cent this year.

Reflecting on the positive business environment, Malaysia’s Digital Economy aspiration is also expected to increase the demand for technology talents. The Digital Economy Blueprint, MyDigital and the country’s impending roll out of 5G are all contributing factors that is geared to spearhead both the economy and the job market for the next 3-5 years.

At the same time, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has put in place plans to provide reskilling and upskilling programmes to ease the transition of the existing workforce into the ICT industry. MDEC has various schemes like the SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme and Smart Automation Grant to support businesses in their automation and digitisation adoption efforts.

These measures will not only support the improvement of digital connectivity but also create a more inclusive digital society, spurring business activity that could increase Malaysia’s opportunity to be a regional digital hub leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

According to Hays, there will be significant focus on Malaysia’s emerging technology space in 2021, with a pronounced emphasis on design areas. This will be mainly from companies implementing new tech products and building platforms for consumers to access products on, user experience and user interface are becoming critical for these businesses, as is the demand for candidates in relevant product manager and digital transformation roles.

In addition, companies are increasingly moving systems into the cloud, spurred by the normalisation of remote working. Previously, the use of private cloud systems had been restricted by stringent government regulations. With these constraints lifted recently, there will be a substantial uptrend in all related sectors and an increased demand for candidates with cloud security and DevSecOps skills. The transition from traditional development to microservices is especially notable in the FI and e-commerce industries, creating a surge in demand for IT support engineers who are skilled in Active Directory, end-user technology, network, and security. These developments have further increased the attention on internal compliance of technology and digital solutions, sparking new job opportunities for professionals with diverse areas of expertise.

However, there is currently a tremendous gap between the demand and supply for talent in specialist areas given the inability of companies to train relevant professionals for these important roles in a short period of time. Tom Osborne, Managing Director of Hays Malaysia said, “The last twelve months saw a blurring of the lines between the digital and information technologies in Malaysia, and 2021 is expected to continue this trend. This has been brought about by companies moving enterprise systems towards emerging techs and investing heavily in digitalisation capabilities.”

“Furthermore, as companies increasingly incorporate data functions into business decisions and grow these increasingly important chapters of operations, talent who can analyse or crunch data will continue to be required over the coming year.”

“All of this fluctuation will lead to substantial salary turbulence, leading companies to seek out creative salary packages with an emphasis on remunerating highly certified talent with technical allowances. This technique not only circumnavigates wage restrictions but can also be highly advantageous for onboarded employees in the right position. Roles that will be best rewarded can be found in the market-retrenched technical areas of coding and algorithm within e-commerce and in the digital webspace, as well as in the more niche areas of emerging technologies.” adds Tom.

Hays predicts that the digital technology sector will grow exponentially in the future, driven by newly digitalised industries including digital healthcare, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and gaming, among others. There is a strong demand for comprehensive talent that specialises in tech, especially in the areas of cyber security, artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning and imaging algorithms.

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