Upskilling a priority in Malaysia 2021

Photo by Philipp Katzenberger Unsplash

In Malaysia  upskilling as important, particularly in the areas of digital and remote-working related skills.

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, says a new report by leading recruitment experts Hays.

The report titled Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia surveyed over 9,000 working professionals across Asia firstly in February 2020 and then later in the year from between September – October 2020.

It found that the overwhelming majority of respondents in Malaysia regard upskilling as important, particularly in the areas of digital and remote-working related skills.

Digital skills most desired

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). 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)

Employers must bridge the skills gap

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.

Tom Osborne, managing director for Hays Malaysia said 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.

“Our data shows that investing in training an increasingly digital and remote workforce to communicate, learn and lead remotely may be the key,” he said. “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.”



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