Employers must prepare now for workforce of the future

IDEAS APLENTY: Ng and Yuri discussing the needs of the future workforce in a media briefing at MDeC's office in Cyberjaya.

CYBERJAYA: Working environments will need to change if employers want to attract highly-skilled and ICT-savvy workers, according to the Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC).

In its MSC Malaysia Talent Demand and Supply Study 2010-2013, the custodian of the MSC Malaysia initiative found that many employers are unable to retain ICT talents in their organisations.

The survey also showed a mismatch in demand and supply for such skilled employees, a high attrition rate among fresh graduates, and that many of the employers were too casual about bettering their staff through training.

It also revealed that the ICT industry here needs more than 6,000 new talents to meet current demands for such skills.

“We need an IT savvy workforce and by 2020, we will need an additional five million workers,” said MDeC chief operating officer Ng Wan Peng during a discussion on ICT job outlooks and trends, held at the MDeC headquarters here.

But there is a gap in the expectations of employees and employers. While employees support technologies and trends that promote a good work-life balance, many employers are a bit hesitant to comply, said Ng.

“We don’t have enough of the new work-environments, where employees are allowed to bring their own devices, work from home, or engage in social media while at work,” she said.

“Furthermore, many employers are not comfortable with the mobile worklife because they can’t be sure whether their workers are being productive,” Ng said, adding that this is especially true for companies that have more than 20,000 employees.

“Multinational IT vendors, like Cisco Systems Inc, already have solutions for setting up these high-tech work-environments, but many employers are far behind in the adoption of these systems. We need to be ready now for the workforce of the future,” she said.

Cisco Malaysia managing director Yuri Wahab, who also participated in the discussion, said employers and employees should consider upskilling programmes to hone their talents.

“Technology advances very fast. When I first started working, everything I learnt in university was already less relevant; it is the same today for graduates,” he said.

He said upskilling is important for employees to stay ahead and this will also help employers be ready for the needs of the new workforce.

“If they want to implement BYOD (bring your own device) in their business network, for example, they need to know what components to add and what skills are needed to support this work trend,” he said.

The MSC Malaysia initiative was started to leapfrog the country into a knowledge-based economy.

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