The Critical Occupations List (COL) 2016/2017, which covers 10 key sectors in Malaysia, has highlighted  human resources managers as part of the professions that are "critical".

Under the COL, which is issued by Talent Corporation Malaysia, some job titles include human resource manager, training manager, industrial relations manager, occupational safety and health manager, personnel manager, recruitment manager, learning and organisation development manager, compensation and benefits manager, as well as talent and organisation performance manager.

Additionally, other professions that are included in the list are:

  • managing directors and chief executives
  • finance managers
  • policy and planning managers
  • business services managers
  • sales and marketing managers
  • advertising and public relations managers
  • research and development managers
  • manufacturing managers
  • information and communications (ICT) managers

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

Additionally, lawyers – who were on the previous COL 2015/2016 – have been removed from the list, a hint that they are no longer considered to be “critically needed”.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said in The Star that social media experts were now much sought-after as 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.

Additionally, cybersecurity experts are high on the wanted list considering the growing number of large-scale cyberattacks recently.

Datuk Shamsuddin further noted that employers, however, value soft skills more than work experience. He 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 remarked

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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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