IT has been especially difficult for job seekers since Covid-19 arrived earlier this year.
The number of jobs in the private sector fell by 181,000 to 8.47 million jobs in the third quarter of this year compared to 8.65 million in the same period last year, according to the Department of Statistics.
Meanwhile, the number of unemployed in Malaysia – which stood at 511,700 in January when the first Covid-19 cases arose – rose to 826,100 in May, before falling to 737,500 in September.
In this scenario, what new jobs are available and what will the labor market look like once the pandemic is over and the economy recovers?
As it is now
A useful source of information on this is the Labor Market Information and Analysis Institute (Ilmia) of the Ministry of Human Resources.
Ilmia’s website shows job offer figures among others and while the data is not exhaustive, they offer at least a rough overview of the likely aspect of the job market at all times in Malaysia.
The monthly number of job offers recorded by Ilmia showed a sharp drop from 50,334 in February to 9,474 in April before rebounding to 24,872 in June.
Ilmia’s figures also show job functions that have the largest number of vacancies.
For the second quarter of this year (April-June), plant and machine operators occupied the first place with 11,428 seats.
It is a role that includes positions such as production operators, machine operators, line leaders, equipment and machinery operators and heavy machinery operators.
The financial and investment advisor was second with 5,111 openings.
The job function includes financial planners, financial executives, financial advisors, banking executives, and financial agents.
This feature includes sales executives, marketing executives, business development executives, digital marketing executives, and social media marketing executives.
The following graph shows the list of the top 10:
The advertising and marketing professional ranked third with 2,864 job offers.
Ilmia also lists the jobs defined as critical occupations in 18 economic sectors of the country, serving as a guide for planners to coordinate policies to attract, nurture and retain the talent the country needs.
A helping hand
To help those looking for jobs and those who have lost their jobs, the government has introduced a number of initiatives and measures that include those in the 2021 budget.
Post-pandemic future of Malaysian jobs
A big question for many workers is whether their current jobs can survive into the future amid the impact of Covid-19.
In this regard, the report “The Future of Jobs Report 2020” published last month by the World Economic Forum (WEF) sheds some light on the matter.
The report said the pandemic is not the only one affecting jobs, even in Malaysia.
The job market is also being disrupted by automation and greater adoption of technology.
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“In addition to the current disruption of pandemic-induced closures and economic contraction, technology adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025,” the report said.
The report asked employers in 26 countries, including Malaysia, about job roles they hoped to see demand increase or decrease in their industry from this year through 2025.
Their responses were classified according to the job papers they most frequently cited.
According to Malaysian respondents, the most sought-after emerging roles are data analysts, strategic advisors and Internet of Things specialists.
At the other end of the spectrum, the report said that jobs that respondents felt they could see declining demand in the next five years included data entry employees; accounting, bookkeeping and payroll employees; as well as administrative and executive secretaries.
No details were given on the number of respondents in Malaysia, so the representativeness of the responses in relation to the labor market in general is unclear.
However, the WEF report provides an insight into some of the possible hot and future jobs and those that could be transformed into new roles due to technology and automation.
The report said all employers surveyed in Malaysia aimed to accelerate the digitization of work processes.
“This means that some lost jobs will never return and those that do will require new ways of working and new skills,” the report said, adding that tasks, jobs and skills will be transformed in 2025 due to greater technology adoption by companies.
The report said 86% of Malaysian companies surveyed indicated that they are ready to hire new permanent staff with skills relevant to new technologies.
JobStreet Malaysia employment director Gan Bock Herm, when asked about the results of the WEF report, said there was a growing demand for emerging functions such as data analysts, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics and cybersecurity specialists.
“JobStreet predicts that these percentages of‘ first digital ’skills and knowledge may increase further due to the growing demand for digital tools and processes,” he said, noting that the growing demand for digitalization in companies has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, it is urgent that people perfect themselves with knowledge of digital technologies along with digital literacy and transferable skills,” he added.
Gan said JobStreet’s Covid-19 Job Report indicates that the top three industries of 74% of employees expecting to hire new hires in the next six months are IT-driven, followed by manufacturing and banking / financial services.
The WEF report said most local companies surveyed said they expect their current employees to pick up skills at work, with 62% saying they will make “strategic layoffs” for staff who lack the skills to use new technologies.
The WEF report also asked respondents about the skills of workers they consider highly sought after.
For Malaysian entrepreneurs, emotional intelligence has landed in the first place.
The second is creativity, originality, and initiative; followed by analytical thinking and innovation (3rd); technological design and programming (4th); and complex problem solving (5th).
In terms of retraining and improving their workers, Malaysian companies said their main focus was to train workers to develop better analytical thinking and innovation.
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