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Uncertain economy slows down Q3 hiring in Malaysia

The Asia Job Index for Q3 2016 published by Robert Walters today revealed an expected dip in annual job advertisements in Malaysia.

According to the report which compared Q3 2015 to Q3 2016, stricter regulatory requirements across local industries have driven demand for compliance roles. These conditions were previously mainly restricted to the financial services industries, but "are now cascading down to other industries". The report stated that hiring activity for accounting and finance professionals dipped by 11% in this year’s third quarter due to more stringent selection criteria in an increasingly client-driven market.

AJI2016 MY

On the other hand, more companies had also established internal in-house legal teams, driving a 25% increase in job advertisements for such roles. Similarly, HR is becoming a stronger internal business partner for firms, with a boost in job advertisements by 13% where talent acquisition experts were predominantly sought after. Furthermore, HR professionals with strategic experience in transformation and change management were in demand as more firms restructured and downsized.

Speaking on this issue, Sally Raj, managing director of Robert Walters Malaysia commented: “The dip in annual job advertisements was not unexpected. Much like the previous quarter, the dip was due to continued contraction in the oil and gas industry and the fall in the Ringgit. This has primarily led to reduced demand for professionals, especially in sectors such as manufacturing and engineering.”

“However, due to the rise of digital e-commerce businesses, more companies are adopting online platforms that require solid IT expertise to facilitate their expansion, boosting demand for digital skills. Many multinational firms have set up their regional and global purchasing hubs in Malaysia, driving the number of jobs in the procurement sector – particularly in contact and shared serviced centres. We expect hiring sentiment in Malaysia to be cautiously optimistic approaching the tail-end of 2016,” she added.

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As for other markets, Singapore’s job market had boosted by growth in the technology field. With the Singapore government’s plans to boost the local start-up ecosystem, it led to a 24% rise in recruitment activity for the IT job market. Not only that, as companies continue to digitise their processes, it resulted in a very high demand for technology professionals with experience in developing the latest platforms.

In contrast, there was a 36% dip in job opportunities in the merchandising and purchasing sector as companies move their functions to lower-cost locations outside Singapore.

Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Southeast Asia said, “The slight decrease in job advertisement volumes in Singapore was reflective of a changing economy. Sectors like manufacturing, residential property and shipping have come under duress as companies undergo restructuring to cut costs.”

“However, there has been positive growth in the technology and e-commerce field as businesses improve customer engagement and shore up their security practices, resulting in more job opportunities available for user experience and user interface designers, and cybersecurity professionals in particular. While HR teams might be getting leaner, companies are still recruiting for roles in talent management, leadership & development and compensation & benefits. Hiring managers will also be focusing on recruiting more domestic and overseas returning Singaporean talent,” he concluded.

Photo / 123RF

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