Companies truly felt the crunch when it came to sourcing tech talent with specialised skillsets – an ongoing shortage that became even more apparent in 2023. Florie Mae Salazar, Manager at Robert Walters Malaysia’s Tech & Transformation division, says that employers are pulling all stops to retain their existing employees. “Crazy counteroffers have become rampant in the market – with some offers going as high as 100%,” she reveals.
On the other end of the spectrum, the widespread layoffs across tech giants nevertheless affected many employees. Many candidates without in-demand skillsets have struggled to find a new role, particularly as some companies enforced tighter controls over spending and put projects on pause.
More employers have also asked their employees to return to the office, but candidates are still prioritising flexible, hybrid or remote work options when assessing new opportunities. “Candidates with a fully remote work arrangement have been more likely to stay in their current organisation unless there is an opportunity that entices them with a significant salary hike,” Florie explains.
Read on to find out more about Florie’s expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for Malaysia’s Tech & Transformation professionals in 2024, with an emphasis on the infrastructure and cybersecurity sectors.
Unlike during the pandemic where the interview and onboarding process was done fully remotely, employers have reinstated some of the rituals common in pre-pandemic hiring processes. “Now, before an offer is given, hiring managers make it a point to meet the candidate in-person at least once,” shares Florie.
Another trend that has been on the rise is a stronger push for equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I). More employers have expressed a desire to balance their team structures, and have thus added demographics on their hiring requirements.
Activity has also been bubbling in the fintech space, which Florie expects will contribute significantly to the hiring demand in the year ahead. In 2023, along with an increase in local companies, more global fintech companies also set up shop in Malaysia due to lower costs. With the release of Malaysia’s digital banking licenses, more candidates have also spoken about their interest in getting into the banking sector. Even employers who typically poach talent from their competitors’ talent pool are looking to source their candidates from the fintech space.
Finally, she states that in the year ahead, we can expect to see more hiring delays that come about as a result of counteroffers.
Across all tech verticals, companies expect candidates to have strong technical expertise – as a minimum. In addition to that, Florie has noticed that more companies are looking for talent that also have strong business acumen and engagement skills to match.
“Gone are the days where employers are looking only for technical experts. Now, they very much prefer people who can work behind the computer, and still face stakeholders when needed,” she elaborates.
In 2024, roles in cloud and cybersecurity will see sustained demand. Data and digital-related positions will also be highly sought after.
Candidates in the Tech & Transformation space still expect competitive salary increments when they evaluate new opportunities, but flexible work arrangements are now extremely important for attracting and retaining talent.
“These candidates believe that technology enables remote productivity, and besides, enforcing an office presence may contradict the very reason companies invest in technology. We’ve seen candidates turn down a 40 – 50% salary increment because they don’t want to go back to the office, whereas they were willing to accept a 15 – 20% pay hike that came with flexible work arrangements,” explains Florie.
In external hiring, speed is essential. Instead of looking for 100% fit, find talents that you can work with, and you can teach.
Tech candidates are also always looking to enhance their technical proficiency, so Florie recommends involving them in bigger projects with modern technologies where possible. Alternatively, companies could also sponsor their training and certifications.
When it comes to hiring externally, companies need to move fast. Instead of seeking a perfect match, consider recruiting candidates that show potential and a willingness to learn. As Florie notes, “In a market where everyone view for top-tier talent, you must be prepared to compete with other employers or adjust your expectations accordingly.”
“We expect that more employers will issue bonuses and attractive annual increments to retain their talent. This, in turn, will affect salary expectations for employees looking to change jobs. On average, job movers will likely still ask for salary increments of between 25-30%, but it won’t be surprising to hear candidates ask for increments of up to 30% or more” states Florie.
Request access to our 2024 Salary Survey to benchmark salaries and to find out more about key hiring trends in the Tech & Transformation industry in Malaysia.
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Florie Mae Salazar
Tech & Transformation, Malaysia
Florie, Manager of Tech and Transformation, has 7 years of strong market presence and specialises in hiring for Senior Technology positions across all industries.
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