In the face of shaky economic conditions and escalated costs, many corporations have cut back on spending and focused on restructuring and optimising costs in 2023. This has had an impact on hiring.
However, according to Mohammad Nordinie, Senior Principal at Robert Walters Malaysia’s Human Resources division, it has been business as usual for certain sectors when it came to their hiring activities. “Hiring has gone up for the food and beverage (F&B) and retail sectors, with some startups hiring en masse,” he highlights.
At the same time, the ‘Future of Workforce’ concept has gained traction in Malaysia, prompting companies to compete for the right talent that can help them advance ongoing their transformation efforts. As a result, forward-thinking, innovative, creative, and tech-savvy qualities are high on the list of what hiring teams are looking for.
Along with the maturity of AI automation, companies have fostered the development of a new blended workforce that amplifies the best of their worker’s technical and soft skills.
Read on to find out more about Nordinie’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Malaysia’s Human Resources professionals in 2024.
In 2024, employees can expect to find themselves spending more, if not all of their work hours in the office. Nordinie has observed that more companies are re-establishing a work-from-office arrangement across the entire week to maximise business operational capacities and productivity. However, this may turn potential candidates off as some still regard hybrid work arrangements as an important benefit.
“Several big brands have adopted agile ways of working, and we expect this trend to trickle down to mid-sized organisations as well,” Nordinie mentions. “In this way, companies can simplify processes and maximise productivity. The impact this could have on headcount remains to be seen – companies will likely review their current workforce and evaluate whether it makes more sense to hire, or to upskill and reskill existing employees instead.”
In 2024, companies are expected to be more intentional about equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) during the hiring process. “Hiring teams will look to create fair and unbiased selection criteria, and still find ways to diversify their workforce,” says Nordinie.
With the increasing incorporation of digital transformation in work functions, Gen Z's technological proficiency provides them a unique advantage in advancing their opportunities.
He also calls out the impact of Gen Z, who have begun entering the workforce in recent years. As technologically proficient individuals, Gen Z workers are proving the value they bring, especially to teams that are undergoing digital transformation. Thus, it is likely that companies will adapt their talent attraction strategies accordingly to appeal to candidates in this generation – strengthening their employer branding and promoting a positive work culture with flexible work arrangements.
Candidates with HR digital, organisational design and restructuring experience will have a strong advantage in 2024. Those with a combination of in-house and consulting experience are also highly sought after for specialist roles.
The most in-demand roles and functions for the year are strategic HR business partners, employee engagement and organisational development. Across the board, companies will prize candidates that display strong business acumen and commercial savvy.
“Candidates with desired skillsets may have a few offers in hand at any given moment; they have options, and so, it will become more difficult to attract and retain them,” Nordinie discloses. As such, companies will need to think carefully about what more they can do to stand out in a competitive market.
Each candidate is driven by their own unique set of preferences and reasons, such as hybrid work arrangements, work flexibility, and specific career development and learning opportunities. Addressing these points will go a long way in keeping employees loyal and fulfilled.
Nordinie also advises companies to provide a stellar candidate experience and speed up their turnaround time during the recruitment process, so as not to miss out on great candidates who might be snapped up by other firms.
Although it is a candidate-driven market, salaries are expected to remain by 20% to 25% for job movers. Companies are still mindful of internal equity, and they will still rely on job grades and functions to benchmark salaries.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in the Human Resources industry in Malaysia.
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Human Resources, Malaysia
With over nine years of recruitment experience, Nordinie specialises in recruiting senior-level HR positions and has extensive experience in sales.
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