Those in prestigious professions still a sought-after lot

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 11 Jun 2017

Apple's new CareKit helps health professionals build apps so patients can monitor their treatment. ©skynesher/

PETALING JAYA: Traditionally prestigious professions still have it – those in these jobs remain sought-after today, although their counterparts in the digital industry are in high demand.

Despite talk of a glut, medical specialists, accountants, engineers, architects, clinical psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists and dentists are still much needed in the country.

A check with the relevant associations revealed that these professionals are crucial for Malaysia to achieve developed nation status. These roles are vital in ensuring affordable, quality service, especially healthcare, for the people.

On the other hand, the manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and finance and insurance sectors may have too many workers. Thanks to disruptive technology and the challenging economy, these industries (which were last year’s top retrenched fields) continue to see an oversupply of workers. There are also too many general practitioners, especially in urban areas.

The Critical Occupations List 2016/2017, which covers 10 key sectors in the country, underscores the need for accountants, engineers and tertiary level educators.

This time around, however, lawyers – who were on the COL 2015/2016 – have been removed from the list, meaning they are no longer considered to be “critically needed”.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said social media experts were now much sought-after as many businesses strengthened their social media platforms to become more sales-driven.

“Multi-faceted social media professionals who can create, edit and write content, drive engagement and awareness, and manage advertising campaigns to drive sales, are wanted,” he said.

And, with a growing number of large-scale cyberattacks including the global WannaCry ransomware which infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries last month, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity experts are high on the wanted list.


Organisations need such professionals to safeguard their IT operations, Shamsuddin noted.

LinkedIn talent and learning solutions vice-president (Asia Pacific and Japan) Feon Ang said the rise of the digital economy created a strong demand for tech-related roles such as software developer and information security specialist.

But with the high demand and talent shortage, companies must build a strong employer brand to attract the industry’s best, she said.

“Retaining and developing existing talent by helping them acquire new skills to keep up with the evolving needs of the digital economy is equally very important,” she added.

Employers, however, value soft skills more than work experience, Shamsuddin said.

“A candidate may have extensive experience and stellar qualifications but they’re of little value if their soft skills are lacking.

“Employers will look at what motivates the candidate and how they can effectively and efficiently communicate with the team if hired,” he said.

The Human Resources Ministry advised graduates entering the job market to study employment trends.

Those thinking of manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and finance and insurance, should know that these sectors topped the retrenchment list last year, it said.

In 2015, there were no retrenchments in the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, support services, education, health, humanities, social work, water supply, waste management, art, entertainment, recreation, and household products and services sectors.

But the positive trend changed last year, according to the ministry’s latest statistics.

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