Employers face skill and talent shortage challenge

  • Business
  • Saturday, 11 Mar 2017

Wright: ‘Our candidate survey also reveals 39 of candidates in Singapore are already job hunting with 23 planning to change jobs in the next six months and 26 from between six and 12 months.’

SKILL and talent shortage will be one of the biggest challenges for Malaysian employers this year.

According to recruitment experts Hays, businesses in Malaysia are concerned that the continuing skill shortage will severely impact their operations this year,

The 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide reveals that 97% of employers in Malaysia are still struggling to find the skilled individuals they need.

“The ability to attract and retain the best talents always provides a company with a competitive advantage, but in 2017 with skill shortages persisting and significant changes and challenges on the horizon, it is more important than ever,” says Hays Asia managing director Christine Wright.

The skill shortage in Malaysia has been well documented and as business operations are likely to be affected throughout the year, she says, adding that employers are encouraged to invest in the training and development of staff and to become more strategic in their talent management practices.

“Recruitment and retention of talented employees will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges facing employers this year, and heightens the need for a review of recruitment policies and procedures in the midst of a war for top talent.

Interestingly, the survey shows candidates are highly mobile with 79% of respondents in Malaysia willing to move countries to secure the right job. “Our candidate survey also reveals 39% of candidates in Singapore are already job hunting with 23% planning to change jobs in the next six months and 26% from between six and 12 months,” she explains.

Based on Hays survey, 69% of employers in Malaysia are concerned they don’t have the right talent to achieve current business objectives. It also reveals that 48% of employers in Malaysia believe skill shortages have the potential to hamper effective business operations this year. A further 49% expect shortages to have some impact on business operations.

“When the efficiency of a business is threatened, planning your business strategy and your talent pipeline has never been critical. The focus for many businesses should be to build a highly talented and productive workforce. To do so, companies need to ensure they have access to the right candidates if they are to benefit from emerging conditions,” Wright adds.

Looking back over the last 12 months, 54% of employers in Malaysia tried to combat skill shortages by upskilling their employees, while 40% improved their attraction strategies. Only 6% took no action.

In skill short areas, 48% of employers in Malaysia would consider sponsoring or employing a qualified candidate from overseas. Across all countries, 59% of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified candidate from overseas in areas where there are skills shortages.

This is a 6% drop compared to last year’s results, which could be indicative of tightening labour laws in the countries surveyed, Hays notes.

She says Singapore has the most ethnically diverse workforce in Asia with 21% of foreign workers in the country. Hong Kong ranks second with 12%, Malaysia third with 11% with Japan 9% and China 6%, she adds.

Meanwhile, Robert Walters Malaysia managing director Sally Raj says as digital transformation across multiple industries in South-East Asia continue to drive recruitment in 2017, managers looking to hire top talents this year are advised, among others, to shorten recruitment processes, and offer competitive salaries, flexible working and career-development opportunities.

On another note, Wright says 61% of candidates in Malaysia have nominated salary or benefit package as their main motivator in wanting to switch jobs. However this year, she adds 47% of candidates have nominated “lack of career progression” as a reason to switch jobs and is an increase of 17% from last year.

In this regard, she says: “Employers will need to have access to current candidate attraction and retention research to guide their candidate and employee strategies, and to ensure they have the best people possible to help navigate what is expected to be a fast changing year in 2017.”

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