Malaysia's job market looking brighter in 2023 following stronger economic growth

21 Dec 2022 09:46am
Photo for illustrative purposes. Photo by 123rf.
Photo for illustrative purposes. Photo by 123rf.

KUALA LUMPUR - Employers are optimistic for higher hiring opportunities next year, says online employment platform JobStreet Malaysia.

This is following a stronger growth of 14.2 per cent in the Malaysian economy in the third quarter of 2022 (Q2 2022: 8.9 per cent) The company’s latest Malaysia 2022-2023 Compensation and Benefits study showed that 53 per cent of Malaysian employers it polled had "great confidence” in Malaysia’s job market.

Another 57 per cent reported that their hiring has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, while another 23 per cent foresaw this happening by June 2023, it added.

"Over a third of the companies we spoke to are actively hiring personnel, so this scenario is progressively becoming an employee’s market,” JobStreet Malaysia managing director Vic Sithasanan said in a statement.

According to the study, which polled almost 500 people involved in the hiring process, 88 per cent of companies had been actively hiring over the past six months.

The most highly-sought out roles were in administration, human resource, accounting, sales/business development, engineering and IT.

JobStreet Malaysia said the nature of work has also been changing, with at least 59 per cent of companies now choosing to maintain or increase the number of contract/temporary positions, with only eight per cent of companies planning to reduce their dependence on such workers. This is primarily due to companies saving on staff costs, as well as finding it difficult to recruit either suitable or qualified permanent full-time staff.

"Fresh graduates should be happy to know that over the past year, 57 per cent of companies had hired fresh graduates while 38 per cent hired interns,” Vic noted.

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That said, relevant work experience remains a significant factor in the hiring decision, with 63 per cent of companies offering jobs to candidates for this reason and 36 per cent citing it as the primary reason, he added.

On the employees’ side, 80 per cent of candidates turned down job offers in favour of other alternatives that may have provided better benefits packages. Over 70 per cent of companies are providing their employees with a performance, guaranteed or contractual bonus, with the median bonus of one to two months.

In addition, over 82 per cent of companies surveyed implemented salary increases, with a median increase of 5-10 per cent while 54 per cent had internally promoted their employees, generally incrementing their salaries from 6-10 per cent.

The study also noted that many employers sweetened the pot by providing additional benefits beyond statutory requirements. These benefits include marriage leave (72 per cent rising to 78 per cent in the upcoming year) and paternity leave (32 per cent currently, 40 per cent over the next 12 months) to career development programmes and even paying for medical and life insurance policies for their employees, with 25 per cent of companies extending that insurance coverage to family members over the next 12 months.

The top benefits related to work-life balance that companies provide are a five-day working week (79 per cent), everyday casual wear dress code (59 per cent) and early leave on festive days (also 59 per cent).

"Employers realise that employees these days are looking for a better work-life balance. For example, over 51 per cent of employers are willing to offer flexible working hours over the upcoming year,” said Vic.

"Meanwhile, 23 per cent of companies had implemented some form of hybrid work arrangement for their employees. In fact, 53 per cent of companies surveyed believe they are at least somewhat capable of supporting remote work, and 82 per cent of companies provide some sort of support for remote working, such as laptops and virtual meeting support.” Employers are also seeing the benefits of digitalising their HR processes and tools, with 80 per cent of companies aiming to either digitalise or upgrade their HR processes, with 41 per cent of companies looking at transforming their employee benefits process and 36 per cent set to upgrade their payroll processes.