Filling the gap for digital talents


  • SME
  • Saturday, 05 Feb 2022

THE ongoing digitalisation process could see many tech companies flourish in the coming years.

However, a shortage of skilled digital talents could hinder the growth of these firms, particularly if they are located outside of the Klang Valley.

According to Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) Digital Talent Snapshot in Malaysia Quarter 2, 2021 report, more than half of the digital talent in Malaysia are currently found in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor due to the facilities the states provide, leaving little to no skilled-talent supply in other states.

The shortage of tech talent has become an even larger problem for local digital companies in recent times, especially for those that are located outside of these two states, as their growth will be limited by the skills gap and mismatch, the agency notes.

“In a bid to create an inclusive digital society, an all-encompassing initiative has to be put forward to ensure that digitalisation is being adopted by all members of society for a fair economic distribution and equitable growth.

“Through MDEC’s programmes such as MyDigitalWorkforce Work in Tech (MYWiT), we strive to help the rakyat improve their digital literacy, enable access to more high-paying jobs, and facilitate the micro, small and medium enterprises to be the driver of Malaysia’s digital economy,” says Mahadhir Aziz, chief executive officer of MDEC.

He cites an example in Kuching-based Karuna (Sarawak) Enterprise Sdn Bhd, which experienced the talent shortage first-hand just as the company was ready to invest and expand its footprint.

Karuna is a creative design company based in Sarawak with sales offices in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Australia. Currently, it has a workforce of 30 people.

“We have faced difficulties in finding people with specific skill sets that are essential to our line of business, which include being well-versed in coding languages such as React Native, React JS, Next.js and Flutter,” shares its business development manager Jonus Ko.

He adds that tech companies are competing to hire people with the right skills as these coding languages are in high demand but low in supply.

“We have tried to look for prospective employees by placing advertisements through online or printed media, word of mouth and even engaging the services of recruitment agencies to locate appropriate individuals locally in Sarawak and throughout Malaysia.

“We also engaged overseas technical services on a contract basis in order to complete our projects, but this solution is costly and not sustainable in the long run,” he says.

Consequently, Karuna applied for the MYWiT incentive and managed to address the issues it had with hiring digital talents by utilising the upskilling and reskilling programmes recommended by MYWiT.

Introduced under Kumpulan Wang Covid-19, the subsidy programme involves a RM100mil fund from the Finance Ministry to support MDEC’s #MyDigitalWorkforce Movement.

It aims to incentivise employers to hire unemployed Malaysians via training and salary subsidies.

Through the programme, Karuna managed to hire a fresh graduate seeking a job in Kuching itself, whom the company can further groom and develop through upskilling initiatives.

To apply for the MYWiT incentive, visit https://mdec.my/mywit/

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