PETALING JAYA: More than 60% of Malaysians surveyed expect their jobs to be taken over by automation in the next five to 10 years.
However, 87% of those polled feel equipped to deal with the new wave of digitalisation.
According to the latest Q2 2019 Randstad Workmonitor study, 63% out of the 400 Malaysians polled expected their jobs to be automated, which is 12% higher compared with Singapore.
Malaysia is still considered 29 points or 34% higher than the global average of those who expect their jobs to be taken over by machines.
The survey noted that 89%, or close to nine in 10 respondents, said their bosses should invest more in developing their workers’ digital skills as well as help them to stay employable.
More than 71% of employees also said their bosses had an increasing need for those with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills and capabilities.
Similarly, analysis of vacancy data shows that the median advertising duration for a STEM vacancy is more than twice as long as compared to a non-STEM-related vacancy.
Randstad Singapore and Malaysia managing director Jaya Dass said the fourth industrial revolution (IR4.0) will “dramatically” change the skills that companies need in order to innovate and progress.
“We observe that it will be a collective effort by job-seekers, employers and educators to build a future-ready workforce.
“Companies should start by looking at the skill and talent gaps, invest in training programmes to get their workforce up to speed and help prepare them for the future where job responsibilities are expected to be more complex and sophisticated, ” Jaya said yesterday.
The survey found that 55% of employers are having trouble finding the right talent for their companies.
They believe that number would increase to 63% with employers finding it more difficult to get the right talent in the future.
Jaya said IR4.0 focuses on implementing technology in meaningful ways to improve the quality of life and the way people interact with one another.
“We foresee the shortage of STEM professionals in Malaysia will impact the speed of development in expanding industries such as technology, smart manufacturing and engineering, as well as financial technology.
“However, the increasing number of career opportunities that require STEM qualifications will motivate more people to equip themselves with relevant technical skills as they seek to remain employable, ” added Jaya.
Meanwhile, according to the Khazanah Research Institute in its 2017 discussion paper, jobs that are most resistant to automation are those that have the characteristics of either creative intelligence, social intelligence or high degree of perception and manipulation.
Examples of occupations that are at low-risk include counsellors and therapists, teachers, academics and most high-skilled professionals such as engineers and architects.
Telemarketers, clerks, paralegals and elementary factory workers are examples of high-risk occupations, the report noted.
“It is estimated that more than half of all current jobs in Malaysia are at high risk of being affected by automation in the next one to two decades.
“Four out of five of these jobs are semi-skilled. It is Malaysians who are most affected, not foreign workers – 90% of all semi-skilled jobs are held by Malaysians, ” said the report.