Across all sectors and industries, companies have proceeded more tentatively and carefully when hiring in 2023.
Within the industrial sector, Marie Lee, an Associate Director at Robert Walters Malaysia who specialises in B2B and B2C sales and marketing roles, notes that companies she worked with have spent more time deliberating during the hiring process to ensure they settle on the best candidate for the role.
The same trend, she notes, was evident in the FMCG, healthcare and retail sectors. “Compared to 2022, consumer spending has fallen, which is likely why companies are now also spending more mindfully,” she relates. “Overall, the recruitment process has slowed down considerably.”
Businesses were not the only ones affected by inflation. More candidates also felt driven to look for new opportunities that could offer them higher salary packages to combat rising costs of living.
Read on to find out more about Marie’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Malaysia’s Sales & Marketing professionals in 2024.
Within the FMCG and healthcare industries, companies have begun extending sign-on bonuses – with the condition that the candidates would start work earlier or forgo their annual bonuses. Marie anticipates that this emerging practice will likely prevail in 2024.
Versatile talents who can effortlessly transition across various disciplines, including digital, branding, and sales functions, are in high demand by companies. Their ability to adapt and excel in diverse industries is greatly appreciated.
More new FMCG and healthcare startups are also entering the Malaysian market, generating demand for talent. The strong demand for digital and e-commerce positions is expected to stay consistent, and the same applies to bread and butter roles in key account management, brand management and trade marketing.
Meanwhile, across retail sectors, companies expressed a preference for talents with multidisciplinary skillsets and experience in digital, branding, sales and more. “These talents are seen as extremely adaptable and fluid, with skillsets that let them expertly navigate different companies or industries,” explains Marie.
Such talents can look forward to opportunities with a slate of food and beverage (F&B), fashion and beauty brands that will present larger hiring volumes in 2024 as more of these brands launch in Malaysia. Digital and performance marketing roles will also remain in demand.
Professionals in the industrial space may note that the industry has been placing more attention on sustainability. Key topics such as renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy transition will continue to take centre stage in 2024.
“Industrial sector candidates are also likely to have more than one offer at any given time, so companies will need to offer competitive packages and be decisive in making an offer,” adds Marie.
Hiring managers in the FMCG and healthcare sectors will seek out talent with strategic planning, general management, data analytics and research skillsets. Candidates who are skilled at negotiating and influencing stakeholders are also in demand. The roles and functions that will see higher demand include sales, key account management, e-commerce, branding, digital marketing, and regulatory and medical affairs.
Within retail, companies will look to add more marketing managers, performance marketing managers and business development managers to their ranks. The top skillsets needed in the sector are in performance and digital marketing, brand marketing and strategic planning.
The most sought after roles across the industrial sectors are in sales, business development and general management. Candidates with strong and demonstrable experience in people management and P&L management will stand out.
“Candidates in the FMCG and healthcare sectors haven’t changed significantly,” comments Marie. “They are still after clear career progression and development opportunities, so companies should be intentional about providing that to attract and retain talent. An added bonus would be for companies to provide job rotations and allow some flexibility in their portfolio so their employees stay engaged.”
The situation is slightly different in the retail sector, with more candidates receiving counteroffers from their existing companies when they seek to change jobs. To address this, Marie recommends that companies reassess their salary benchmarks to ensure employees are compensated fairly. More bonuses and benefits such as flexible work arrangements can also help with talent retention.
Within industrial sectors, Marie mentions that while candidates are generally open to opportunities, they tend to think twice and consider multiple factors before deciding to take up a new role. Her advice to companies in this space is to take a well-rounded approach that addresses all points that candidates consider in deciding to stay or join their team – clear growth pathways, competitive remuneration packages that are reviewed on a regular basis, improved benefits and hybrid or flexible work arrangements.
Salaries are expected to increase at the usual rates of 5 – 7% for talents staying in the same job within the FMCG and healthcare sectors. Job movers can expect a 20 – 25% increment.
For the retail and industrial sectors, salaries will likely remain similar to present rates, with some mild adjustments.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in the Sales & Marketing industry in Malaysia.
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Sales & Marketing, Malaysia
With 10 years of recruitment experience, Marie is overseeing Sales & Marketing for B2C and B2B. Her expertise in recruitment strategies and industry trends ensures the selection of top-tier candidates.
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