Job market to remain strong, says Jobstreet

"There are a lot more companies using digital tools for recruitment," Jobstreet's Sithasanan said.

KUALA LUMPUR: Jobstreet Malaysia expects the job market to continue its strong momentum in the first half of this year, driven by the carry forward activities last year, while more companies use digital tools for hiring post-pandemic.

“The reason why we see the momentum increase is the carry forward last year to where we are today. We do see more (job) activities online.

“The whole digital transformation has happened due to the pandemic and there are a lot more companies using digital tools for recruitment.

“Based on user behaviour and behaviour on the system, we do see an increase in those activities,” managing director Vic Sithasanan said at a briefing yesterday.

Sithasanan pointed out that with the Malaysia unemployment rate falling 0.3 percentage point (ppt) year-on-year (y-o-y) to 3.3% in November last year, hiring will only get tougher for employers.

Meanwhile, competition will only get stiffer for job seekers as there is an increase of 15% in terms of applications per job advertisement y-o-y.

However, Sithasanan told StarBiz that Jobstreet Malaysia is more focused on the other metrics rather than the unemployment rate to determine its growth.

“We are not directly affected by the unemployment rate because either way, there are people looking for jobs. We look at job placements and hiring needs, which are the criteria.

“Even if the unemployment rate is low, there could be a lot of hiring needs in the market. It is just that the workflow or talent are mostly employed.”

Sithasanan said it is very difficult to lower hiring needs year-on-year because there is gross domestic product (GDP) growth. There are always sectors that are expanding and growing.

“The metrics that concern us are more on the flow of candidates. For instance, if the employees do not feel confident about the economy, they might not switch jobs and we won’t be able to help employers hire people.

“We are in South-East Asia and it is a growth region and we do see Malaysia’s GDP growing y-o-y. There are definitely sectors, which are slightly more depressed than others while others are growing higher,” he added.

He said when employees are very confident about the economy, there will be a lot of career shifts, where they are willing to take higher risks by taking on other jobs.

Currently, Malaysia is the second-largest market in Asia for SEEK, trailing behind Hong Kong in terms of market size.

SEEK Asia, which is part of Australia-based Seek Ltd, operates in six countries: Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

“What I am proud of is that Malaysia has the highest growth market in 2022 and second highest in 2023 in terms of business growth.

“This gives me a lot of confidence going into this year. We had a great January and February, even with Chinese New Year, it has been very positive.

“We grew almost 50% during the pandemic years from where we were before and we would of course not see this kind of growth where everything has normalised.

“But we still feel confident that we would be able to grow 15% y-o-y in the next few years. And this is not even including the new features and functions that we are developing,” Sithasanan added.

He said with the implementation of SEEK’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions, Jobstreet can now help employers and talent in Malaysia find better matches more efficiently and navigate the job market more effectively.

SEEK’s unification of its employment marketplaces comes 10 years after it acquired Jobstreet and JobsDB and three years of development with an estimated A$180mil (RM560mil) investment.

With the country’s unemployment rates having returned to pre-pandemic levels of 3.3%, many organisations have shown difficulties in hiring talent across the country.

One of the reasons being talent or skills mismatch. To address this gap, Sithasanan said employers can now tap into a wider talent pool of over 40 million people across eight Asia-Pacific markets, and talent can access more job opportunities from over 2.5 million employers – including more remote working opportunities.

He added that SEEK’s new features are helpful for those recruiting talent based in other markets and for Malaysians who wish to explore employment opportunities in companies that are based overseas.

According to SEEK general manager of marketplace and AI products, Grant Wright, the unified marketplace platform brings forth new AI-powered advancements to Jobstreet by SEEK’s platform, aimed at enhancing the employment experience for both employers and job seekers throughout the region.

He explained that employers will be able to assess talent suitability and be given personalised recommendations by processing data from various sources, including resumes, job ad descriptions and the employer’s past behaviours.

This allows employers to have a more efficient hiring process. Employers can also expedite the talent shortlist process by adding AI-recommended screening questions in their job ads.

Meanwhile, for job seekers, their job-hunting process is more efficient and relevant as they can now easily be matched to AI-recommended jobs they are most qualified for based on their experience and skills.

Using AI, Jobstreet also predicts when a person is likely a strong candidate for a role by showing a top applicant badge, so talent can make more informed decisions whether to apply for a role.

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