Malaysia, a diverse nation spanning the Malay Peninsula and Borneo, enchants with its blend of modernity and rich cultural heritage. Boasting vibrant cities, tropical rainforests, and iconic landmarks, Malaysia is known for its economic dynamism, multicultural society, and strategic position in Southeast Asia. In the vibrant economic mosaic of Malaysia, certain industries stand as pillars of growth, resilience, and innovation. These top five sectors not only contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP but also mirror the dynamic shifts and priorities shaping Malaysia’s economic future.
Major Industries in Malaysia
Given Malaysia’s government’s emphasis on Industry 4.0 through its forward-thinking National Policy, it’s unsurprising that the Computer and IT industry tops the nation’s most sought-after sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to further propel growth as companies increasingly embrace automation, interconnectivity, and artificial intelligence. To attract top IT talent, companies should offer competitive salary packages with health benefits and prioritize career development opportunities. For employees in tech roles, completion bonuses are deemed essential by 40%, and 50% express a preference for sign-on bonuses.
The banking and financial sector is poised to play a pivotal role in Malaysia’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery, facing the challenge of talent retention and acquisition. Competitive monthly salaries and comprehensive insurance benefits can enhance attraction efforts. Amid economic uncertainties, employers are urged to invest in career development programs, aligning with the sector’s second-highest candidate driver, career development, following salary/compensation. With over half deeming on-the-job skill development and training as essential, companies should prioritize these offerings. Leadership training, work-related skill set training, and internal transfer opportunities are also key preferences for candidates in this sector, emphasizing the importance of learning and up-skilling for future career progression within the company.
Malaysia’s manufacturing and production sector significantly contributes to the country’s GDP, but the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly impacted certain segments. While non-essential factories faced closures during movement control orders, essential sectors like the medical device industry experienced a surge in global demand. To retain talent, companies in manufacturing should reconsider their salary and compensation packages, a top driver for employees in this field. Beyond a solid monthly salary, candidates prioritize financial perks such as insurance (67%) and fixed allowances for work-related expenses (50%). Work-life balance is crucial, with employees seeking compensation for working on public holidays (64%) and a no-work rule after office hours (40%). Family-centric benefits, including additional leave for family responsibilities and paternity leaves, are also significant for talent in this sector.
The Construction/Building/Engineering sector plays a vital role in Malaysia’s economy, although the COVID-19-induced Movement Control Order (MCO) has impacted project timelines. While key infrastructure projects continued with restrictions, work stoppages on most sites have hindered progress. Analysts express optimism for recovery post-MCO. This sector heavily relies on a consistent workforce, predominantly composed of foreign talent, susceptible to high turnover. Employers aiming to enhance retention should offer financial rewards beyond salaries, prioritize work-life balance, and present clear career growth paths. Compensation packages should encompass financial remuneration for after-hours and public holiday work. Employees also value a five-day workweek (58%) and on-the-job training (44%).
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning has emerged as a significant method for students to continue their education. The sector’s growth is anticipated, aligning with Malaysia’s aspirations to become a hub for higher education. Notably, the industry is predominantly female-dominated, with women constituting two-thirds of the workforce. Female employees prioritize work-life balance (14%) while attracting candidates in this field requires offering a reasonable number of annual leave days. Additionally, 60% of candidates seek extra leave for family issues, childcare, birthdays, study time, hospitalization, emergencies, and more. Employers should address concerns about high turnover rates, emphasizing effective employee retention strategies.