Greater Kuala Lumpur, The Regional Headquarters Location For Multinational Companies In Asia
Innovation & Talent

The Supply and Demand of Local Talent in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Dec 2016 - The goal of becoming a high-income nation by the year 2020 is fast approaching with 2020 being only a short four years away, and as Malaysia makes great strides forward many are still speculating that there may not be sufficient supply of qualified talents to bring Malaysia to the next level. Though in the past decade, there has been an increase in higher learning institutions being set up in Malaysia, there seems to be a mismatch of talents being produced to meet the demand of the industry.

In understanding this situation better, the team at Thriving Talents has approached Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani the Chief Executive Officer of Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp) to gain insights as well as to get a better grasp on initiatives that have been implemented to ensure that local talents are ready to meet the demands of the industry.
Q: What do you think of the quality of the current talent pool in Malaysia, is there a mismatch in the supply and demand?
Shareen: Malaysia has great talent. We have a diverse and educated talent pool who are multi-lingual and culturally adaptable given our strong ties to India, China and Indonesia. Malaysia’s steady economic growth has also opened up new opportunities in key sectors like Electrical & Electronics (E&E), Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Global Business Services (GBS).

However, what we often hear through our engagements with Malaysian employers is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the right talent, which suggests there continues to be a mismatch between talent supply and demand. Based on the Economic Monitor June 2014 survey (check the link here) by the World Bank and TalentCorp, employers would like to see more fresh graduates with the ability to think critically and creatively, and to communicate and work independently. However, graduates from Malaysian universities seem to be lacking in these areas. 

Addressing this issue calls for greater industry-academia collaboration, as well as industry participation in the academic space. As part of our measures to enhance graduate employability, TalentCorp also  introduced the Industry Engagement Zone, or Ind-E-Zone, in November 2014. Designed to be a dedicated area within university campuses, Ind-E-Zone is a one-stop career information centre which connects students to industry-relevant content and educates them on internship and career opportunities within Malaysia’s key industries. Since the first Ind-E-Zone was launched at the Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia in November 2014, 14 Ind-E-Zones have been established across Malaysia to date, including in Sabah and Sarawak.

Rounding off TalentCorp’s graduate employability initiatives is the Structured Internship Program (SIP) and the Graduate Employability Management Scheme (GEMS). The SIP provides undergraduates with the opportunity to develop industry-specific knowledge and skills. More importantly, it creates a win-win situation for the demand and supply sides, wherein SIP-endorsed companies benefit from a double tax deduction incentive for training-related expenses incurred, while interns get to experience a high-value internship experience. GEMS, meanwhile, up skills graduate through classroom and on-the-job training. 
Q:  How are talents being trained to reach the next level and what initiatives can talents themselves do to be considered by international standards?
Shareen: Some of TalentCorp’s initiatives targeting young Malaysian talent include the myASEANinternship and MyAPEC YouthConnect programmes. While both programmes represent collaborations between the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and TalentCorp, myASEANinternship aims to increase overall awareness on ASEAN among youth in Malaysia by offering regional internships to high-achieving students from local and overseas universities across ASEAN. MyAPEC YouthConnect, meanwhile, is a youth mobility programme providing short-term work placements to Malaysians between the ages of 21 to 30 in order to encourage skills and technology transfer as well as connectivity among APEC youth.  

Keeping in mind that demand for talent will continue to grow as more Malaysian companies become regional champions and multinationals establish their operations in Malaysia, TalentCorp is a big believer in encouraging our local talents to think ‘outside the box’ when planning their careers. 

To ensure Malaysia’s employers are matched to the right talent, TalentCorp works to ensure our Critical Occupations List (COL) is continually refined and updated to identify the jobs most in demand, and for which industries may be facing shortages or difficulties in hiring. In addition to helping Malaysian talents to select their career paths based on areas in demand, the COL serves to promote more effective coordination of human capital policies whilst encouraging employers to invest further in developing sought-after skills. 

While a job seeker’s marketability can be improved through measures such as  internships and industrial placements (for our young graduates) or even certification (for our professional talents), I would also encourage all talents to be proactive in educating themselves on careers in Malaysia’s key sectors which are aligned with their interests and strengths. Although technology today does offer numerous ways for talents to raise their career awareness (e.g. Online learning and career guidance resources, media and other publications), Roadshows and career fairs such as TalentCorp’s Sector Focused Career Fair (SFCF) series have the added advantage of affording talents valuable interaction time with employers in Malaysia’s key sectors. This, in turn, helps talents to better understand what employability skills and technical competencies are needed for them to gain entry to their chosen careers. 

This article was written and produced by Thriving Talents. Thriving Talents is a millennials-focused/ Gen-Y talent development company focusing on Millennials Development and Management.

Source: InvestKL