There is market demand for digital entrepreneurs, gig workers and other digital professionals in the fast-evolving world of digital technology, signifying the urgent need for talent development.
Four leaders highlighted the increasing digitalisation of businesses, and the importance of talent for businesses to grow and reach global levels, during the webinar on “Are you Techable?”
They were Ts. Nurezali Osman, Head of Digital Entrepreneurship and Gig Workforce at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC); Anthony Raja Devadoss, Country Managing Director, Korn Ferry Malaysia; Ts Ng Kwang Ming, CEO, Digital Penang; and Amir Sharifuddin Nayodin, Senior Manager for NCER Talent & Industry Ecosystem Development, and Head of NCER Technology Innovation Centre (NTIC).
Nurezali mentioned MDEC’s training programmes in 2023, i.e. Digital Entrepreneurship and Gig Workforce.
Under Digital Entrepreneurship, MDEC teaches interested individuals, students, and aspiring and existing entrepreneurs on how to use digital tools, platforms or apps to promote their business to the global and Malaysian market. The focus is on digital marketing and e-commerce, he added.
He said MDEC also seeks to train two types of gig workforce – digital freelance and high-value gig – to improve their skills. “There are so many platforms out there for service providers. MDEC validates the platforms before we promote them to the freelancers, and then onboard the freelancers to the specific platforms,” he elaborated.
He clarified that freelance services include programmer/coder, mobile applications, content writing, and online accounting, while high value gig work encompasses repair, sales and marketing, content creation, and other skilled work which require certification.
Devadoss said that automation and data-based decision-making processes help companies to become globally competitive. He advised, “Look at the stackable skills from a training and development perspective, and embrace the short-term courses to bring you to where you want to be.”
He shared a digital talent study in Malaysia that illustrated a demand for talents in such fields as software development, cyber security, user experience, data science, search engine optimisation, digital marketing, social media, e-commerce and web content.
He said the top three sources for recruiting digital talents in Malaysia are LinkedIn, recruitment websites, and employee referrals, while the prevalent top digital job functions are cyber security, digital marketing, and business performance and process transformation.
Ng said startups, SMEs and MNCs require talents who are competent in full-stack programming (front-end to back-end development), system engineering (e.g. the setting up, configuration and deployment of the system), and coding, applied analytics, and cyber security.
Amir spoke on the highly-skilled talent supply shortage and skills mismatch problem in the northern corridor economic region (NCER), and its impact on efforts to attract investments.
He said the supply shortage resulted from a lack of graduates in STEM and TVET courses, brain–drain, self-employment/gig economy, and a restrictive immigration policy. He added that the skills mismatch was because the graduates produced by institutions do not meet industry needs and due to inadequate upskilling and reskilling opportunities.
NCER has initiated training programmes to strengthen the talent ecosystem, he explained. They include the NCER Talent Enhancement Programme (NTEP) to increase youth and graduates’ employability, and the Advanced Technology Meister Programme (ATMP) for upskilling employees.
Over 70 people attended the webinar organised by WOU Academy on 22 March 2023, and moderated by WOU’s Digital Transformation Project Manager, Banu Devi Subramaniam.