In the year ahead, digital transformation will play a key role in shaping growth strategies, said a report from Hays on Malaysian talent trends in 2022. In line with the government's push for digitalisation , Hays predicted that this would create new roles in some sectors and change the role requirements in others. The push for digitalisation was mentioned in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan, where the government announced it would be adopting measures to develop digital talent in promoting the digital economy and nurturing future-ready digital talent. The government said that a digital talent development strategy framework will be formulated to address related issues as well as guide and align all digital talent development initiatives. Sustainable and inclusive funding facilities will also be provided for this purpose.

At the same time, there has been a shift in the approach of how one evaluates potential jobs. The disruption caused by the pandemic has spurred people to reflect on what they want out of their careers, making them more selective about the companies they choose to join. Across sectors, candidates are asking employers for the flexibility to work from home, better work-life balance, and favouring companies with an automated or integrated tech ecosystem, said the report. 

With multiple sectors anticipating a return to growth in 2022 and headcounts expected to rise, employers will need to strengthen their talent attraction and retention strategies in order to remain competitive. While the market might be supply short in certain sectors, candidates should continue to focus on upskilling themselves to prove their relevance and value. Here are the top talent trends to take note of:

1. Accelerated digitalisation driving demand for tech professionals

According to the report, the accelerated pace of digitalisation that is happening across nearly all industries is expected to continue well into the new year. This is driven by the need for sustainability, ever-increasing data volumes, and higher computing and network speeds. With the accelerated pace of digitalisation, the demand for programmers, data engineers, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) developers with solid technical skills will drive up. At the same time, IT or tech professionals who are looking to enter the job market should focus on upskilling with new programming languages and keep abreast of new developments in their field to get an edge over their competition. 

With a notable rise in cyber-attacks globally since the pandemic began, the demand for cybersecurity professionals with cloud and artificial intelligence experience is also expected to grow as the year progresses, said Hays. 

2. Customer-centric and data-driven marketing coming to the force

Businesses are increasingly adopting customer-centric marketing strategies and taking action to drive customer engagement digitally, according to the report. This in turn, has led to two key growth areas within the marketing sector, namely customer experience journey and content marketing. Employers now will be on the lookout for marketing talent with the skills to develop online touchpoints and drive customer acquisition and retention through strategic targeting and engaging content.

Furthermore, the digital transformation that many businesses are undergoing has brought greater accessibility of data and business intelligence tools across functions. As a result, data-driven marketing roles will also begin to grow in importance as businesses seek to measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategy and activities.

3. Shared services centres transforming into centres of excellence

Malaysia has long been a hotspot for Shared Service Centres (SSC), due to low site costs, cultural diversity and language capabilities, and growing finance and tech capabilities. Case in point, despite being in the thick of the pandemic last year, many multinational corporations (MNCs) continued to set up and expand their SSCs in the country.

As the country recovers and reopens its borders to the world, Hays expects more MNCs to not only establish its regional hubs here but to transform itself from transactional hubs into centres of excellence. These centres of excellence will feature expanded functions such as financial planning and analysis, CAST (compliance, audit, statutory, tax) teams, costing, business analysts and finance transformation. Given this, the demand for talent with skills and experience in analytics, process improvements, data visualisation, and RPA implementation will see a huge boost in the coming year. 

4. Return to growth for sales sector

The revival of the oil and gas sector, increase in government investments in technology, and an eCommerce boom is driving the anticipated comeback of the sales sector, said Hays. However, employers are increasingly looking for candidates who can not only sell but who also possess other related skill sets such as marketing, digital, and IT, as well as resilience and agility.

Meanwhile, rapid growth is anticipated in the technology, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), food retailers, logistics, and industrial sectors as a result of digital transformation. This is said to push up the demand for eCommerce and strategic sales professionals is in the coming months. While traditional sales roles are predicted to remain stable, the increase in digitalisation and virtualisation of brick-and-mortar stores might result in employers hiring more contract or remote employees over permanent staff.

5. Significant hiring activity in life science

The life sciences sector brought to prominence as a result of the pandemic is set to flourish as COVID-19 becomes endemic. Significant hiring activity is expected for both replacement and growth within the pharmaceutical, medical, and healthcare industries, as well as to boost medical tourism recovery as border restrictions are lifted. The demand for marketing and product management talent across various therapeutic areas will stay consistent in the coming months, while sales representative, applications, and sales service positions in the medical device segment focusing on COVID-19 diagnostics and related biotechnology areas will grow in response to flourishing businesses.

Photo courtesy: 123RF 

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