Malaysia pushes digital upskilling to boost digital initiatives

Continuing trend that has likely been cemented by the pandemic.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) newly released initiative, MyDigitalWorkForce Work In Tech (MYWiT) initiative, a training and hiring incentive program, aimed at boosting the digital business services sector as well as developing quality tech talents in Malaysia.

This initiative is an extension of the #MyDigitalWorkforce Movement that MDEC launched last year to help re-skill and up-skill Malaysians for digital economy jobs.

The objective of the initiative is to upskill and subsidize talents and businesses with RM100 million in training and salary incentives.

More than 300 companies within these sectors are expected to gain from this program while an estimated 6,000 job opportunities will be created with the aim to produce at least 1,000 quality tech talents.

YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah Minister of Communications and Multimedia said the initiative was in line with the government’s Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) which target to create 500,000 jobs for Malaysians by 2025.

“The Government is cognizant of the challenges brought about by the pandemic and today’s announcement is a testament of our continued effort to not only sustain the tech industry but also serves as a boost to increase our capabilities and capacities, to enable the digital business industry to survive and thrive,” said Abdullah. “Together with MDEC, we will continue to drive the digital economy forward and accelerate towards achieving the goals as set forth in MyDIGITAL in ensuring a shared prosperity for all.”

The Minister noted in a landscape transformed by the pandemic, embracing digitalisation and 4IR technologies are vital for businesses and the Malaysian workforce.

Importance of digital upskilling

The drive to learn and upskill amongst Malaysia’s professionals, as well as their inherent confidence in their skills, has been a continuing trend that has likely been cemented by the pandemic, noted recruitment experts Hays.

Its report titled Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia found that the overwhelming majority of respondents in Malaysia regard upskilling as very important, particularly in the areas of digital and remote-working related skills.

According to the report, 94 per cent of respondents in Malaysia said that upskilling was important/very important to them, the highest such score in the region alongside China (94 per cent). About 64 per cent also believed that increased training and development opportunities would contribute to their organisations becoming more ‘future-ready’.

At the same time, Malaysia consistently emerged as having the greatest number of respondents in the region who believed their current skillsets would still be relevant in the next 2-3 years (42 per cent), including their hard skills (81 per cent).

However, the majority also said they thought their soft skills could improve (72 per cent) which is also the highest such score in the region. When asked which upskilling/development opportunities had become important to them after the COVID-19 outbreak, respondents prioritised digital skills development (89 per cent), reskilling (83 per cent) and e-learning opportunities (78 per cent), alongside training in remote leadership (73 per cent) and remote orientation (69 per cent).

Region-wide desire for digital skills

The rise in importance of digital skills development and reskilling is a region-wide trend that is likely rooted in the ongoing uncertainty. However, the rise of importance in e-learning, remote leadership and remote orientation is well in line with the rising importance of remote and flexible working options in Malaysia.

While half of employers in Malaysia currently offer avenues for e-learning (50 per cent), less offer avenues for digital skills development (29 per cent), reskilling (24 per cent), remote orientation (28 per cent) and remote leadership training (16 per cent), indicating a lag in the remote mindset of employees vs employers, said Tom Osborne managing director for Hays Malaysia.

“In the new era of work, companies may have transitioned enough to survive uncertainty, but a workplace of the future will need to go beyond this to stay relevant in the times to come,” he noted. “Our data shows that investing in training an increasingly digital and remote workforce to communicate, learn and lead remotely may be the key.”

According to Hays in Malaysia, the resounding push from respondents for more flexible and remote working is compounded by the rising importance of soft skills, digital skills and remote skillsets of remote orientation and remote leadership.

“It is apparent then that a workplace of the future in Malaysia will not only offer flexible and remote ways of working but also have training and measurement in place so these skills can be not only be imparted but developed and evolved with the times,” said Osborne.

Through this newly implemented initiative, MDEC was to ensure it brings innovation and advancement in the workplace and businesses in support of the MyDIGITAL promise.

Skilling Malaysians digitally as facilitated by employer-incentivised programmes like MYWiT, counters unemployment, progressing our nation along the Malaysia 5.0 journey said YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff chairman of MDEC.

MyWiT is made up by the following components — the Digital Business Services (DBS) and Digital Tech Apprenticeship (DTA) initiatives.

DBS is aimed at incentivising companies who are hiring fresh graduates or unemployed Malaysians for digital business services roles within their organisation and offers a minimum incentive between RM9,800 and RM20,600 per employee.

For each employee, this incentive will be divided into two parts – the salary incentive, which will cover 40 percent of the employee’s monthly wage for six months (minimum salary of RM2,000) and a RM5,000 training incentive.

The training courses eligible for this include in-house training with a minimum of 40 hours or “Work and Learn” courses listed on MDEC’s Digital Skills Training Directory. There are 180 courses listed to date on the website. Meanwhile, the DTA is targeted at companies that are hiring unemployed Malaysians for high demand tech jobs in areas such as data science, software development and cybersecurity, offering a total incentive package of RM15,200 per employee.

This constitutes a salary incentive of RM1,200 per month for a period of six months and training incentive worth RM8,000 per employee. Employers will be expected to pay a minimum salary of RM3,000 from the fourth month onwards.

Employers may select training courses from the “Career Upgrade” courses listed on MDEC’s Digital Skills Training Directory. All courses in the Digital Skills Training Directory have been reviewed and endorsed by industry practitioners, said Surina Shukri CEO of MDEC.

“The skills demanded today is something MDEC is closely keeping tabs on. Our recent analysis among various job search sites, namely LinkedIn, Jobstreet, Monster, Indeed and Jobstore, show an increasing demand for digital jobs. A total of 47,000 tech-related jobs were advertised in all five portals up to February 2021,” he said. “MDEC targets to incentivise tech companies prepared to hire, upskill and adequately compensate the Malaysian workforce, directly averting and eradicating the impact that COVID-19 is exerting on unemployment. At the most fundamental level, the programme accelerates Malaysia’s journey towards being a digital society through creating digital opportunities for the people, businesses, and the economy as a whole, in line with MyDIGITAL.”

To qualify for both the DBS and DTA incentives, companies must be incorporated in Malaysia and is committed to offering employment for a minimum of 12 months. Maximum hiring quota is set at 500 pax for DBS and 50 for DTA.

However individuals seeking to benefit from MyWiT must be Malaysian citizens and must not be a current or past beneficiary of any of MDEC’s MyWiT incentives or part of PenjanaKerjaya 2.0 and Penjana KPT-CAP programmes. DBS is open to fresh graduates, unemployed and retrenched individuals while the DTA is open to the unemployed and retrenched employees. MDEC’s initiatives under the pillar of Digital Jobs and Skills, have impacted more than two million Malaysians from 2016 to Q3 2020.

The agency has to-date, reached out to support the workforce in accessing skilling and income opportunities through programmes and initiatives which include the Digital Skills Training Directory, Global Online Workforce (GLOW) as well as Go-eCommerce.





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