Five reasons Malaysia is a top talent destination

PROFESSIONALS seeking a rewarding career path in the heart of Southeast Asia would do well to read what the World Bank had to say about Malaysia as a world-class destination for the global talent force.

According to its "Doing Business 2015" report, Malaysia is ranked in the top 20 globally in the ease of doing business, coming ahead of Switzerland, the UAE and Japan.

Malaysia's resilient economic growth continues to be the impetus behind the country's transformation into a hub for international talents seeking career defining opportunities.  

In addition to its equatorial climate and cultural diversity, thriving food culture and tourist attractions, here are five reasons global talent should consider moving to Malaysia.

Number 1: World-class professional opportunities

On top of the growing numbers of multinational corporations (MNCs) and foreign businesses setting up in Malaysia to capitalise on our economic stability, connectivity to Southeast Asia, and availability of investment-friendly incentives, a total of 1.8 million new jobs have been created since 2010 (i) across economically important industries.

Having worked in Europe, the US and Asia for nearly two decades, Nantha Subramanian, who heads Client Experience, Process, Governance & Branch Operations at Standard Chartered Bank, chose to come home to leverage the growing availability of professional opportunities.

"I was in a pretty decent position, doing well," Nantha explains. "I was given the opportunity to [return to Malaysia to] work for another international bank, and the opportunity was great. The decision to return home was definitely career motivated."

Number 2: Talent positive policies

To facilitate the return of more Malaysian professionals from abroad and to support the retention of top expatriate talent, TalentCorp oversees the Returning Expert Programme (REP) and the Residence Pass - Talent (RP-T) respectively. Both initiatives were found by the World Bank to be effective in attracting and retaining talent with skills that Malaysia needs (ii).

The REP encourages Malaysians abroad with expertise in selected priority sectors to return and work in Malaysia to contribute their experience towards the development of the country.

"I believe the REP is a positive step in helping talents make the decision to return to Malaysia. I think once TalentCorp expands on what the REP does (to assist connecting Malaysians abroad to jobs), it could prove to be even more impactful," says Norlida Azmi, UEM Group's chief human capital officer and herself a returnee under the REP.

"I never thought of coming home earlier because to me, there seemed to be a missing link," says Nantha. "The facilitation provided by the REP certainly complemented the job offer I had, in attracting me to return to Malaysia."

Meanwhile, the RP-T is a 10-year renewable pass for highly qualified expatriates to continue to reside and work in Malaysia. The initiative recognises the contribution of foreign skilled talent to the country's economic development.

Commenting on the complementary relevance of foreign talent to Malaysian talent, Norlida says, "From a HR point of view, the RP-T is key because there are some skill gaps that we still need foreign talent to fill."

Number 3: Open, innovative, and forward-looking policies

Supporting policies under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) focus on elevating the competitiveness of Malaysian companies and fostering a business-friendly environment.

In addition to being ranked sixth most attractive investment destination in Foreign Policy Magazine's 2015 Baseline Profitability Index (BPI) (iii), Malaysia is the third most preferred destination in A.T. Kearney's 2014 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) for providing outsourcing activities, based on factors including financial attractiveness, business environment, and talent capabilities.

For Osram Opto Semiconductor's operations controlling director Sor Kok Chiang, more proactive measures are needed to strengthen Malaysia's talent pipeline for the higher skilled jobs that come with the increased inflow of investment into the country.

"Malaysia is moving towards more high value-added industries such as R&D. When we get involved in emerging industries like this, we need people with an advanced level of thinking. This is why more companies are investing in structured training programmes to inculcate the high-functioning mind-set in fresh graduates," he says. 

TalentCorp implements several measures to match talent supply to industry demand. One of these involves developing industry-ready graduates through the Industry-Academia Collaboration programme where universities, Government entities and industries collaborate to develop the curriculum for short courses and industrial training. 

The IAC initiative for the Electrical & Electronics (E&E) sector was launched in April 2015 to catalyse greater industry academia collaboration across priority clusters of the E&E sector. The IAC initiative will be extended going forward to cover other priority sectors under the ETP.

Meanwhile, to connect Malaysian professionals working overseas with local opportunities, TalentCorp collaborated with on the Global Malaysians job board which was launched last September. More than 350 employment opportunities have since been posted by over 50 leading employers from Malaysia's top sectors including Oil, Gas & Energy (OGE); Banking & Finance; Business Services; and E&E.

Number 4: Diversity of ideas, cultures and regions

Thanks to its geographical advantages, Malaysia is considered the gateway to the ASEAN market and is home to a mix of cultures and languages. Living and working in Malaysia provides a great opportunity for talents to network and learn from a variety of cultural and professional values.

"Mixing with people from different cultures gives you diversity of ideas. And to be a well-developed country, you need these ideas, you need innovation, and you need creativity. You need to be at the forefront and to be competitive," says James Ng, a Silicon Valley returnee who is now the engineering technology development manager for Intel Malaysia's Design & Technology Solutions division based in Penang.   

"I think the kind of multiculturalism and dynamics you get in Malaysia are very unique and can be seen as a huge professional advantage," he adds. 

Number 5: Liveability

Kuala Lumpur was voted among the top 100 most liveable cities in the world in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s 2014 Global Liveability Ranking, based on five categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.

HSBC's 2015 "Expat Explorer: Balancing Life Abroad" report, meanwhile, ranked Malaysia the 20th best country overall to live in as an expatriate based on factors including benefits offered by employers, the ease of making friends and the opportunities to lead an active social life. The report's survey respondents, comprising 21,950 expatriates globally, also rated Malaysia one of the top five destinations overall for career satisfaction (iv). 

For Professor John Chan, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre who was based in the UK for more than two decades, Malaysia's healthcare industry offers plenty of rewarding career opportunities, especially with key healthcare projects announced under the ETP set to create an estimated 26,966 jobs by 2020 (v).  

"In terms of equipment and infrastructure, Malaysia has got world-class hospitals in both the public and private sectors," he says. "Now we are looking at sourcing more specialists, the human resource, the consultants and the surgeons to address the clear need for these services in Malaysia."

The Global Malaysians job portal makes it much easier for global talents to seek career opportunities back home. There's no better time to come back and be part of Malaysia's economic transformation. Visit for more."

i. ETP creates 1.8 million new jobs, unemployment down, The Star Online, 29 April 2015

ii. Improving the Effectiveness of TalentCorp's Initiatives, The World Bank, June 2015

iii. Malaysia ranks sixth most attractive investment destination, The Star Online, 13 July 2015

iv. Expat Explorer: Balancing Life Abroad, HSBC, 2015

v. Healthcare NKEA, PEMANDU ETP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 53
Cxense type: NA
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Business News

Wall Street opens lower on rate-hike, recession fears
LTKM signs agreements to dispose of six subsidiaries for RM158.8mil
Microlink wins RM48.55mil contract from Koperasi Co-opbank Pertama
Favelle Favco’s subsidiaries receive contracts totalling RM130.8mil
Sapura Energy 2Q net loss narrows to RM2.59mil
Ringgit falls to new 24-year low as it touches 4.60 to US dollar
Paramount sells remaining education ops for RM120mil
Astro 2Q net profit rises 13% to RM98mil
CFM, Energy Absolute form JV to distribute EV products in Malaysia
Two directors of Pertama Digital resign

Others Also Read