Solving The Dearth Of Digital Talents Outside Klang Valley

According to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation’s (MDEC) Digital Talent Snapshot in Malaysia 2021 report, more than half of the digital talent in Malaysia are currently found in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, leaving little to no skilled-talent supply in other states.

The shortage of tech talent has become an even larger problem for local digital companies, particularly those which are located outside of these two states as their growth will be limited by the skills gap and mismatch.

“In a bid to create an inclusive digital society, an all-encompassing initiative has to be put forward to ensure that digitalisation is being adopted by all members of society for a fair economic distribution and equitable growth.

“Through MDEC’s programmes such as MyDigitalWorkforce Work in Tech (MYWiT), we strive to help the Rakyat improve their digital literacy, enable access to more high-paying jobs, and facilitate the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to be the driver of Malaysia’s digital economy,” said Mahadhir Aziz, CEO, MDEC.

Karuna (Sarawak) Enterprise Sdn Bhd, a Kuching-based company, experienced the shortage first-hand in their hiring at a time when the company was ready to invest and expand its footprint.

A creative design company based in Sarawak with sales offices scattered around Malaysia and regionally, the company has a workforce of 30 and is looking to expand.

“We have faced difficulties in finding people with specific skill sets that are essential to our line of business, which include being well-versed in coding languages such as React Native, React JS, Next.js and Flutter,” said Jonus Ko, the Business Development Manager of Karuna.

He added that tech companies are competing to hire people with the right skills as these coding languages are in high demand, but low in supply.

By applying for MYWiT incentive, Jonus said the company has managed to address the issues it had with hiring digital talents, utilising the upskilling and reskilling programmes recommended by MYWiT.

Introduced under Kumpulan Wang COVID-19, the subsidy programme involves a RM100 million fund from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to support MDEC’s #MyDigitalWorkforce Movement. It aims to incentivise employers to hire unemployed Malaysians via training and salary subsidies.

Benefits of the incentive are also equally shared with Karuna’s new hires and Goh Wei Ying’s hiring journey is a testament to that. She is a Computer Science-graduate from the international branch of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia in Sarawak.

“Since I’m a fresh graduate, I don’t have much working experience in IT-related fields except for being an intern in the IT department of a property company. I started looking for IT-related jobs after graduating on various job search platforms.

“There wasn’t much option as most of them are either not located in Kuching or expecting experienced programmers. On top of that, lacking certain technical requirements mentioned by the employing company also further narrowed the available options,” she said.

After successfully passed the interview with Karuna, Goh was introduced to MYWiT and its programmes which had enabled her to secure a job for at least 12 months and allowed her to gain more experience and knowledge. MYWiT’s incentive has greatly assisted Karuna in getting fresh talents who the company can grow and develop through upskilling of sought-after tech and digital skills set by the industry.

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