By Jeff Yong
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian job market appears to be brighter in 2023 as employers’ optimism is better following the country’s stronger growth of 14.2% in the third quarter of 2022 (2Q 2022: 8.9%), says online employment platform, JobStreet Malaysia.
More than half or 53% of Malaysian employers it polled had “great confidence” in Malaysia’s job market, its latest Malaysia 2022-2023 Compensation Benefits study showed.
Another 57% reported that their hiring has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels while another 23% foresaw this happening by June 2023.
“Over a third of the companies we spoke to are actively hiring personnel, so this scenario is progressively becoming an employee’s market,” says JobStreet Malaysia managing director Vic Sithasanan.
The study, which polled almost 500 people involved in the job hiring process, revealed that 88% of companies had been actively hiring over the past six months.
The most highly-sought out roles are 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% of companies now choosing to maintain or increase the number of contract/temporary positions, with only 8.0% 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.
“The good news for fresh graduates is that 57% of companies had hired fresh graduates while 38% hired interns,” Vic noted.
That said, he revealed that relevant work experience remains a significant factor in the hiring decision, with 63% of companies offering jobs to candidates for this reason and 36% citing it as the primary reason.
On the employees’ side, 80% of candidates turned down job offers in favour of other alternatives that may have provided better benefits packages. Over 70% of companies are providing their employees with a performance, guaranteed, or contractual bonus, with the median bonus of around one to two months.
In addition, over 82% of companies surveyed implemented salary increases, with a median increase of 5.0%-10% while 54% had internally promoted their employees, generally incrementing their salaries from 6.0% to 10%.
The study also showed that many employers sweetened the pot by providing additional benefits beyond statutory requirements. These benefits include marriage leave (72%, rising to 78% in the upcoming year) and paternity leave (32% currently, 40% over the next 12 months), to career development programmes and even paying for medical and life insurance policies for their employees, with 25% 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%), everyday casual wear dress code (59%) and early leave on festive days (also 59%).
“Employers realise that employees these days are looking for a better work-life balance. For example, over 51% of employers are willing to offer flexible working hours over the upcoming year,” said Vic.
“Meanwhile, 23% of companies had implemented some form of hybrid work arrangement for their employees. In fact, 53% of companies surveyed believe they are at least somewhat capable of supporting remote work, and 82% 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% of companies aiming to either digitalise or upgrade their HR processes, with 41% of companies looking at transforming their employee benefits process and 36% set to upgrade their payroll processes.