Discovering talent Down Under

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013

Johan Merican

IT IS often said you can take Malaysians out of Malaysia but you can’t take Malaysia out of Malaysians.

These were the words spoken by Malaysian Students Council of Australia (MASCA) chairman Aina Lim as she referred to the participation of TalentCorp Malaysia and 20 Malaysian employers in the council’s recruitment effort, Graduan Drive 2013, in Melbourne and Sydney earlier this month.

Melbourne, in particular, saw a resounding turnout of more than 1,000 Malaysian undergraduates and 100 Malaysian professionals who networked with industry leaders and employers from Maybank, Accenture, PwC, Intel, Malakoff, Sunway and Taylors Education.

Malaysian working professionals in Melbourne took the opportunity to catch up with other job seekers and employers as well as discuss the job market back home at the networking dinner held in the Marriott Hotel.

Employers on the lookout

Participating employers, meanwhile, were there to express their commitment to recruit Malaysian graduates and working professionals in Australia as an investment for their future development.

“We are focused on internally growing our own talent and not ‘pinching’ from other organisations. Malaysian graduates in Australia and the UK appear to have more refined soft skills in terms of their abilities to think and analyse things critically,” said Gamuda Bhd human resource director Lai Tak Ming.

He also said qualified engineers were few and far between but they possessed skills that were high in demand.

“The talent pool for engineers with such skills quality is very small, so it’s always a challenge for us to find the right people,” said Lai.

Iskandar Malaysia business eco system vice-president Zalmiah Long was there to seek specialised talents to fulfil various roles in the company.

“We’ve compiled about 50 resumes from the fair and will be sieving through potential employees. We’re looking for people who are multi-skilled and are willing to go beyond their job scope as these attributes are important for the growth of any company,” said Zalmiah.

Concurring, and adding to this, was Maybank’s head of the group resourcing centre and human capital Hishamuddin Salleh, who stressed that such abilities were crucial to compete in the global job market.

“As we expand our footprint regionally, we are also seeking a shift in mindset of talents from ‘doing my job well is good enough’ to ‘how else can I do my job better?’,” said Hisham.

As banking-related qualifications are not the primary factor when the company seeks prospective employees, it no longer focuses primarily on academic excellence or a set of technical requirements.

“It is also the right package when individuals possess strong leadership qualities, personalities, adaptability and believe in a common set of values that our organisation upholds,” said Hisham, adding that the company is seeking to fill places in its audit, risk management, investment banking, enterprise transformation services and group strategy and transformation divisions.

TalentCorp on the go

TalentCorp’s CEO Johan Merican was also present and seemed pleased by the turnout and engagement between all parties.

“The participating employers continue to give positive feedback that the Graduan-MASCA fair is an effective recruiting platform for top fresh graduate talent. Presumably, that’s what keeps them coming back year after year.

“Having said that, employers find that many Malaysian students are keen to stay on to work in Australia, hence the importance of greater engagement and awareness of the opportunities back in Malaysia,” he said.

Johan noted that as Malaysian students in Melbourne and Sydney pursued a diverse range of courses, they would be more drawn to employers representing a wider range of the different leading sectors in Malaysia.

Accountancy organisations were also active in the recruitment drive, particularly for this year as accountants remain strongly in demand in Malaysia.

“They are needed not just from the leading professional services firms but also from the fast-growing shared services sector. As such, we need the right quantity and quality of these professionals,” said Johan.

In terms of a push factor from Australia to return home, it was shared that beyond the mining sector, the job market in Australia has become increasingly challenging.

“Quite a number of Malaysians we met in Australia appear to have settled for jobs which did not commensurate with their qualifications and experience. Nevertheless, on the prospect to return, Malaysians we met raised their concerns on the conditions back in Malaysia, including whether there were opportunities for them at home,” noted Johan.

In this respect, he said that it was important that leading private sector companies are part of the outreach to Malaysians abroad, providing a credible perspective of professional opportunities at home. The diversity of Malaysian corporate leaders reinforces the point that the opportunities at home are available for all Malaysians.

TalentCorp has been working more closely with MASCA to strengthen the level of engagement and awareness for Malaysian students in Australia.

Beyond the career fair in Melbourne and Sydney, TalentCorp also conducted engagement sessions at universities in Adelaide, Canberra and Tasmania.

“Recognising the need for greater awareness of a broader range of industries, we have also collaborated with MASCA to organise industry visits during the summer breaks, such as to employers in the oil & gas, electronics and finance sectors,” said Johan.

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