Corporate Wellbeing Asia 2023
Malaysia's labour market in 2022: Salary snapshot & talent trends in IT, manufacturing, and FMCG

Malaysia's labour market in 2022: Salary snapshot & talent trends in IT, manufacturing, and FMCG

Trends show that some employees may be compelled to change jobs as a result of negative work experiences they have had during the lockdown, such as working with a bad manager or not having adequate support to work from home.

As travel restrictions ease and industries work to resume full operations in 2022, multinational companies that have invested in Malaysia in the last two years are projected to expand and increase their operations in the coming year. However, employers need to take note of a new phenomenon, which could possibly be unique to Malaysia – pent-up energy from employees who have been working from home, a new report by Randstad Malaysia has noted.

Fahad Naeem, Head of Operations at Randstad Malaysia remarks: “Employees in Malaysia have a lot of pent-up energy after staying at home for more than six months in 2021. Many of them are eager to get out of the house and make lifestyle adjustments once restrictions are fully lifted and as activities return to normal.”

Per the report, titled the 2022 Market Outlook & Salary Snapshot Report, after more than a year of metaphorical stalemates for many, workers may be increasingly more motivated to hunt for new jobs, especially if they had planned to do so before the lockdowns and want to take advantage of the new job opportunities once businesses restore their full operations.

Further, some employees may be compelled to change jobs as a result of negative work experiences they have had during the lockdown, such as working with a bad manager or not having adequate support to work from home.

While this may be positive news for organisations hoping to increase headcount next year, organisations must also prepare to face pre-pandemic attrition levels, the report added. With more job candidates on the market, it is critical for HR leaders and employers to understand how to engage and attract top talent.

According to the report, Malaysia remains a candidate-short market. Despite anticipating that more people will re-enter the job search market, companies should not mistake it as a bigger candidate pool to tap into. The results show that industries such as technology, manufacturing as well as banking & financial services are facing hiring challenges due to the mismatch between their company’s digital growth ambition and the shortage of qualified talent to realise business goals.

Above all, the report highlighted that HR professionals should not shy away from making progressive changes to their organisations, despite the fact that it may appear to be a "considerable transformation effort." Companies that refuse to adapt to the new style of working risk facing issues retaining and attracting top talent, it added.

Therefore, the HR industry will continue play a very critical role in building the company’s human capital capacity to drive its digital transformation strategy to capitalise on the growth opportunities in 2022.

Diving deeper, the report provided salary snapshots for various roles across the three high-growth industries — information technology, manufacturing & supply chain, and fast-moving consumer goods.

Information technology 

The report highlighted four key areas of growth in the technology space:

  • E-commerce: E-commerce is seen as one of the bright spots driving Malaysia’s economic recovery, not just for its growing popularity but also for its growth potential. According to the report, demand in this sector will maintain its momentum in the years to come, even after the pandemic abates and social distancing measures are relaxed.

  • Fintech: Fintech is another area that continues to experience significant growth due to changing consumer behaviour, movement control restrictions, and regulatory changes. The report noted that Islamic banking would be an emerging area being disrupted by fintech, presenting a "sizeable" opportunity for new fintech companies.

  • Cloud: In 2020, SaaS conferencing was the easiest and quickest solution for companies to implement. Malaysian companies are now leveraging cloud technologies to better navigate the digital economy. Technology firms that offer online food deliveries services have also been growing in popularity. These on-demand services are expected to grow and expand around Klang Valley in tandem with the explosion of e-commerce.

  • Cybersecurity: In relation to the rise of cloud technology, there is a huge demand for cybersecurity professionals today. As Malaysian firms of all shapes and sizes go digital and incrementally move their operations online, their vulnerabilities to cyber threats have also increased. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of cybersecurity experts in the country, but the government aims to resolve this shortage with plans of producing 20,000 cybersecurity knowledge workers by 2025 through the MyDIGITAL blueprint.

In line with that, the report revealed key talent trends affecting the sector in 2022 — there will be more opportunities for local talent, candidates will continue with appetites for changing jobs, and a rising demand for highly-skilled talent who specialise in cloud, security, and other emerging technologies.

Overall, the expected (monthly) salaries for key roles in information technology are as follows (in MYR):

screenshot 153

Manufacturing & supply chain

The report noted that the country's manufacturing sector continues to be hampered by the volatility of COVID-19 outbreaks and movement control orders. The biggest bottleneck, it shared, comes from the reduced workforce capacity, resulting in periods of weakened demand. However, a few bright spots — such as increased manufacturing sales and foreign direct investments — are emerging that will likely improve the outlook for the sector in the coming years.

New policies that the government has put in place will also play a part in ensuring sustainability and driving the industry forward. In that vein, the report highlighted that on the talent front, technology, flexibility, and agility will shape the roles of tomorrow. 

In particular, the "most obvious" roles that will be in demand in 2022 and beyond are for skilled workers:

  • Test engineers and new product introduction engineers for the semiconductor industry;
  • Automation engineers or robotic engineers for general manufacturing companies; as well as
  • Sourcing analysts for supply chain firms and manufacturing companies.

Other than these technical skills, manufacturing companies are also looking for hires who are agile and highly adaptable to survive in the new normal.

Next, the report added that a lack of highly skilled talent means that manufacturers are competing with other industries such as healthcare or consumer goods for top hires, noting that the manufacturing sector "suffers from a case of bad public relations."

Manufacturers can therefore start by improving internship experiences and making it a critical part of their talent attraction and retention strategy, it added.

Overall, the expected (monthly) salaries for key roles in manufacturing are as follows (in MYR):

screenshot 155Fast-moving consumer goods

The report observed the changing consumer behaviours that FMCG companies need to take note of:

  1. All-around health will be a growing priority 
  2. Lower trip frequency, bigger baskets will become the norm in the stay-at-home economy
  3. Convenience-driven retail will thrive
  4. Value-based shopping is a trend among younger age groups 

Talentwise, in light of the above trends, there will be more demand for digital roles in the FMCG sector now and in the coming years, particularly in the fields of digital marketing and e-commerce.

Analytics-driven roles like data analysts and consumer insights managers will be more critical as FMCG companies leverage data to improve existing operations and customer experience, as well as keep up with changing consumer behaviour and needs.

Meanwhile, trade marketing managers will also be highly sought-after as FMCG companies figure out how to improve in-store promotions with consumers spending less time in physical shops.

As always, salary will continue to be an important factor in any candidate’s decision-making process. That said, the report highlighted that just like consumers, candidates are also looking for other employee benefits outside of salary. These include an alignment in personal and company values, and how brands portray a good brand image and communicate these values.

Overall, the expected (monthly) salaries for key roles in FMCG are as follows (in MYR):

screenshot 157

Lead image / 123rf
All inline images / Randstad Malaysia

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Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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