An Insight for Employers on Talent Shortage in Malaysia 2024

March 01, 2024 09:00

Malaysia is at a critical juncture in its pursuit of economic prosperity, and the role of talent remains pivotal in shaping the nation's future. A recent proposal to address the shortage of skilled manpower by allowing foreign graduates to work in the country has sparked debates. In this blog, we will explore the potential impact of talent shortage on employers in Malaysia, focusing on the ongoing efforts of Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) and the broader implications for the workforce.

Initiatives Taken in Malaysia:
TalentCorp plays a significant role in shaping Malaysia's talent landscape, addressing challenges such as the creation of high-skilled jobs, underemployment, youth unemployment, and low female workforce participation. Through data-driven initiatives, TalentCorp aims to bridge the gap between industry demands and the skills possessed by graduates, making Malaysia a premier destination for talent.

The key initiatives by TalentCorp Malaysia includes:

  • Critical Occupations List (MyCOL): TalentCorp actively shapes talent policies, addressing immediate critical skills gaps and talent shortages within industries through initiatives like MyCOL.

  • Industry-Academia Collaboration (IAC): The Sector/Regional-Focused IAC platform fosters collaboration between educational institutions and businesses, ensuring graduates possess skills aligned with industry requirements.

  • National Structured Internship Programme (MySIP): Encouraging meaningful internships, TalentCorp strengthens the link between academic theory and industry exposure, enhancing the employability of local students.

  • Young Employable Students (YES!) Programme: TalentCorp actively shapes the youth talent pool, creating awareness and insights on industry trends to ensure Malaysian youth are employable and aligned with industry needs.

  • Career Comeback Programme (CCP): Addressing the low participation of women in the workforce, TalentCorp supports women returning to work after a career break.

  • Industry-Talent Advisory Council (InTAC), Women Agenda Council of Experts (WACE), and Malaysia Global Talent Advisory Group (MyLead): TalentCorp emphasizes an industry-driven approach with structured advisory networks, providing strategic guidance to influence positive outcomes in policy formulation.

Local, Foreign Graduates and Employment:
The proposal to allow foreign graduates to fill skilled manpower gaps, particularly in high-tech sectors like electrical and electronics (E&E), has prompted questions about its potential impact. Datuk Adnan Mat of the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has raised concerns about wage discrepancies and the quality of local candidates.

While emphasizing the importance of nurturing local talent, it is crucial to acknowledge the complexities of Malaysia's talent landscape. The nation has made substantial investments in higher education programs to produce highly skilled graduates. However, addressing immediate critical skills gaps is equally essential to meet the demands of evolving industries.

TalentCorp's initiatives, rooted in a data-driven approach, aim to bridge the gap between industry demands and the skills possessed by graduates. The Sector/Regional-Focused Industry-Academia Collaboration and the National Structured Internship Programme are examples of efforts to align education with industry requirements, ensuring graduates are industry-ready.

Potential Impact on Employers:
The debate over the inclusion of foreign graduates in the workforce raises questions about employers' preferences and practices. Some argue that paying high wages to foreigners may impact the competitiveness of local candidates in the job market. This discussion prompts a crucial dialogue about fair wages and the need for local graduates to remain competitive.

Closing the Gap:
As Malaysia aims for prosperity, the talent shortage debate underscores the delicate balance between nurturing local talent and addressing immediate skills gaps. Employers play a crucial role in influencing policies and practices that impact the nation's workforce. Collaboration between the government, industries, and higher education institutions is imperative to ensure a robust talent pool and sustainable economic growth for Malaysia.

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