Employers in Malaysia are concerned over their ability to find candidates with the skills essential to business growth in 2019. The Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019 revealed that a total of 46 per cent of employers are not confident in locating talent with the skills they need to meet operational requirements in the year ahead. This number has grown from 35 per cent who expressed the same in 2018.
Amid the shaky confidence in securing skilled talents needed for further development, employers are also concerned about how skill shortages would hamper the effective operation of their businesses or departments in 2019. While 41 per cent of employers believe that operations will ‘without a doubt’ be affected, 53 per cent say that ‘there will be some impact’.
In addition, when asked about the areas in which skill shortages have had a negative impact on their organisation, employers cite that productivity (71 per cent), growth and expansion (52 per cent) and employee morale (46 per cent) were most impacted, in that order.
According to the research, more companies in Malaysia are favouring hard skills (60 per cent) over soft skills (40 per cent) in candidates. While statistical analysis and data mining, project management, and computer skills are the most preferred hard skills, employers who prefer soft skills in candidates are on the lookout for aptitude in problem solving, team working and critical thinking.
“With talent shortages remaining a challenge to businesses in Malaysia, hiring managers have been placing a higher emphasis on hiring talents with technical skills over emotional or psychological competencies,” says Tom Osborne, managing director at Hays Malaysia. “However, our latest Diversity and Inclusion report reveals that over three in five (65 per cent) respondents in Malaysia believe their leaders are biased towards employees who look, think and act as they do, which may be counter-effective in casting a wider recruitment net to reach adept, skilled talent. To address skills deficiencies, employers can truly stand to benefit from being more inclusive in their talent attraction and retention strategies.
“To add, businesses should consider providing more training and professional development for their workforce to bridge the skills gaps, especially since a growing number of them (46 per cent) cite the lack of such provisions to be the main causes of skill shortages in the industry,” he says.
Despite the skills chasm in the recruitment market, employees are demonstrating firm confidence in their abilities. Seven in ten (72 per cent) respondents of the survey believe that their current skills will be in demand by employers five years from now, a slight increase from the 67 per cent in 2018.
“Right across Asia we have noted that employees are confident in the durability of their skillsets, despite the fact that employers have noted shortfalls in a number of areas,” adds Tom. “While there are more candidates dedicating time outside of working hours to develop their professional skills, most of them (37 per cent) are spending only one to two hours a week doing so. If employees are to warrant their confidence, we feel that they could be doing more to improve themselves.”