A glimpse of job market trends in Malaysia

About 50 members of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) attended a talk organised by MEF in collaboration with Wawasan Open University (WOU) at the main campus to better understand the job market situation in the country.

JobStreet.com Regional Sales Manager Kay Sock Phoh in her talk on ‘HR Trends: Malaysia and Penang’ examined employment demand based on data compiled by JobStreet on job advertisements for Malaysia-based positions.

Kay speaks about HR trends.

Kay speaks about HR trends.

She noted that according to statistics for 2007 to October 2010, March seems to be the peak season for companies to hire workers, possibly because people are ready to leave once they get their bonus and after Chinese New Year.

“There was an explosion of jobs in March 2010, with 29,846 job postings,” she pointed out, adding that the lowest point of confidence was January 2009 because the US sub prime crisis had intensified and the Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2008.

She informed that the Internet captured 73.26% of job vacancies for Malaysia while the balance was by printed media, as extracted from figures for Star, NST and Sin Chew since these media are considered the main players in terms of job advertisements.

Kay said that before 2008, the majority of the ads appeared in print media, but Internet started to overtake print media from January 2008 onwards. The reasons are lower rates making it cheaper for employers, the wider coverage, and the type of workers they look for have to be Internet-savvy.

The top four industries that advertise in Malaysia are manufacturing, construction, ICT and the accounting, finance and banking sector. “Manufacturing, construction and ICT were contributing to 40% of total advertisements posted every year for vacancies in Malaysia from 2008 to Oct 2010,” she highlighted.

Meanwhile for the northern region – Ipoh, Perlis, Kedah and Penang – Penang contributed 65% of job positions posted for northern region in October 2010. She said that overall Penang jobs contribute to 80% of total northern job posting numbers. During the highest point of March 2010, the northern region recorded 2,398 job postings, while the lowest in January 2009 recorded only 737.

The top three industries by job postings for the northern region are: manufacturing/ production; human resources management/consulting; and computer/information technology (software).

In comparing year to year job postings, Kay said the figures rose for 2010 (till Oct) to 168,345 for Malaysia, and to 21,024 for the northern region. She said Penang contributed to 15% overall of Malaysian jobs, while almost 70% were from Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.

Ishan expounds on virtual collaboration.

Ishan expounds on virtual collaboration.

Meanwhile WOUI School of Science and Technology senior lecturer Ishan Abeywardena spoke on “Virtual Collaboration: Some HR Concerns”. He said in light of some bad press lately on outsourcing, employers can opt for virtual collaboration where people from different countries, time zones and different specialisation work on the same project via electronic communication.

(MEF is the central organisation of private sector employers in Malaysia which provides a forum for consultation and discussion among members on matters of common interest, and seeks the adoption of sound principles and practices of human resource and industrial relations through research, training and other activities.)