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News & Events

[ 06-05-2013 ]
62% of businesses in M’sia find it hard to source skilled workers

PETALING JAYA: About 62% of businesses in Malaysia are finding it hard to source skilled workers, according to the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report.

This was just ahead of Singapore’s 61%, but higher than the global average of 39%.

“The survey also revealed that in the Asean region, the shortage of specific or technical skills was the most significant factor for businesses in Vietnam (86%), followed by the Philippines (76%) and thirdly in Malaysia (68%). This was followed closely by Singapore (66%) and also business owners globally (64%).

“The survey highlighted other factors that hindered recruitment in Malaysia, such as the lack of appropriate work experience (63%) and also shortage of general employability skills, particularly teamwork and communication in English (62%),” the report said.

It added that Malaysian businesses were faced with increased operating costs (52%), increased workload for remaining staff (47%) and also a fall in customer service standards (38%).

The report also revealed the huge length of time business leaders in some economies have to wait to find the right people.

“Businesses in Japan take the longest at 116 days, India at 96 days followed by Malaysia at 93 days. Globally, it takes 70 days to hire skilled staff. At the other end of the scale, businesses in mainland China report that it takes only 37 days on average to hire skilled workers,” it said.

SJ Grant Thornton country managing partner Datuk N. K. Jasani said in a statement: “A business is nothing without its people, just as a strategy is nothing without the people to drive it forward. The best people boost productivity, save a business time and money, and ultimately grow the organisation.

“The shortage of skilled workers reported by business leaders should, therefore, provoke real concern, especially at a time when unemployment is running high in many mature markets.”

He said the key concern among business leaders was the lack of technical skills, which was “both cause for optimism and pessimism”.

“There could be improving dialogue between education institutions and business leaders to embed the necessary skills in students. However, this is happening at a less than desired pace. In the meantime, the fastest-moving sectors such as technology and clean-tech are reporting the most serious recruitment difficulties,” he said.

Jasani said it was heartening that TalentCorp Malaysia, an agency set up by the Government in 2011, had been designed to streamline the performance of the local labour market and attract Malaysians working abroad to return home.

“Under the leadership of Johan Merican, numerous initiatives have been created to attract Malaysians working abroad such as the Residence Pass-Talent initiative, the Returning Expert Programme and the Scholarship Talent Attraction and Retention.

“The Residence Pass-Talent and Returning Expert Programme are already in implementation. Besides that, there are also programmes that assist local graduates such as FasTrack, the Structured Internship Programme and also Talent Wanita to raise and improve the market of skilled labour,” Jasani said.

He added that with these proactive programmes, Malaysia would be able to increase its talent pool.