How does Malaysia stack-up compared to the
By Karin Clarke
2012 | The
human capital debate. With many economies slowing across
the United States and Europe, Asia Pacific will be the engine room
of global growth in the year ahead. Attracting new talent for the
next phase of growth is the biggest human capital challenge across
the region (26%). But it’s a more pressing concern for the
faster growing nations. China (35%), Hong Kong (31%) and Malaysia
(29%), where around a third of employers rate it as their number
The productivity challenge. Most employers say
filling critical vacancies is their biggest productivity concern,
and more than half cite developing leadership skills for the next
phase of growth as a key challenge.
employers see talent attraction as high on the agenda, retention
will also be a key issue in a year where talent mobility is
expected to be a significant challenge.
As the fastest growing nation, China is feeling the impact more
acutely, with a greater number of employers highlighting more productivity
challenges than other nations. China’s phenomenal growth means
it must fight on all fronts, from managing downtime and knowledge
loss as a result of high employee turnover, through to filling the
critical vacancies that turnover and business expansion create.
At the same time, they must educate the next generation of leaders.
In Malaysia, employers top the list when it comes to a lack of specialist
skills to drive innovation, as the nation transitions to a high-tech,
Hiring intentions. Almost two-thirds of employers (64%)
surveyed across Asia Pacific say skills shortages are already present
or expected to emerge in the next year. Just under half will increase
headcount in the next 12 months, but this number jumps to 57% for
China and 62% for Hong Kong. Singapore (53%) and Malaysia (44%)
have slightly more modest intentions, while just over a third of
employers plan to increase headcount in Australia and New Zealand.
Graduates, apprentices and trainees are in strongest demand in Malaysia,
where employers are looking to build their talent pipeline and move
towards the Government’s 2020 goal of being a high-income
Talent attraction & employer branding. Forty-four
percent of employers across the region rate their ability to attract
top talent as average or poor. Over a third of employers believe
the main reason they are failing to attract top talent is due to
uncompetitive salary – but is it? Convenient workplace location
is very important to half of Australian employees, yet less than
15% of Chinese employees agree. Leadership and career development
is the single most important benefit for Malaysian employees, but
flexible work options are more important in New Zealand.
Mediums like social media are becoming more influential. Three quarters
of employers in Asia Pacific now agree that social and professional
networks should be part of any organisation’s strategy to
attract talent with 77% of Malaysian employers agreeing. Despite
the growing acceptance of social media across the region, less than
a third of employers are actually using it to attract talent today.
The exception is Malaysia, where 42% of employers are already using
social media as part of their attraction strategy.
Employee retention and satisfaction. While employers see
talent attraction as high on the agenda, retention will also be
a key issue in a year where talent mobility is expected to be a
significant challenge. Thirty percent of employers across the region
expect to see an increase in employee turnover in the next 12 months
and despite 66% of managers being satisfied or very happy in their
role, around a quarter would consider another job for the opportunity
to earn more money/benefits or to have better work/life balance.
The leadership agenda. Employers across the region
agree developing leadership skills for the next phase of growth
is a key productivity challenge, but there’s less consensus
about what defines a successful leader. In more developed nations
like Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, more than half of employers
believe the ability to motivate and inspire others is the single
biggest attribute that defines a successful leader.
Yet, less than half of Malaysian and Singapore employers, and just
a third of Chinese employers, agree, rating more traditional management
skills, such as the ability to adapt to changing or competing business
demands, and the ability to analyse and problem solve, as important
Karin Clarke has 20 years’ recruitment
industry experience across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore
and Malaysia. Since joining Randstad in 2000, Karin has held
a number of senior management roles across the region. In
2009, Karin was appointed to spearhead Randstad’s Singapore
and Malaysia operations.