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Hiring in Technology and Transformation: Tech sector to see robust growth and hiring in 2023

The transition of covid-19 from pandemic to endemic status saw the resumption of hiring activity for tech in 2022. Skilled talent was also more open to changing jobs. However, candidates expected higher salary increments compared to before, due to the rising costs of living in Malaysia.

Flexible work arrangements became tech candidates’ top consideration when exploring new job opportunities, after having adapted to remote or alternative work options during the pandemic.

Sheryl Sim, Manager of Tech & Transformation (Digital, Development & Delivery), Robert Walters Malaysia, shares, “Many organisations have evolved and adapted to business amid a pandemic by adopting digitalised recruitment processes, which will continue into 2023.”

“We have seen greater adoption of virtual interviews, which expedites the overall recruitment process and also mitigates risks such as lack of punctuality or no-shows,” says Florie Mae Salazar, Manager of Tech & Transformation (Infrastructure & Cybersecurity), Robert Walters Malaysia.

Read on as Sheryl and Florie share their expectations of the labour market and hiring trends for tech professionals in 2023.

Top tech roles and skills in demand in 2023

One of the biggest hiring trends expected in 2023 is the automation of IT and business processes.

As many companies set up shared services in Malaysia, they will aim to automate business processes by adapting to new technologies such as Cloud, RPA, or AI. “This will lead to high demand for Cloud Architects or Engineers in 2023,” says Florie.

With the emergence of digital banks in the country, candidates skilled in cybersecurity and GRC will be sought after to mitigate potential threats. “There will be increased and continued demand for data and cybersecurity talent to support new and existing operations in the country,” she adds.

Data has become an essential business resource to identifying new business opportunities. Hence, experienced talent in data and “metadata” have been and will continue to be in high demand as they are the “engines” in harnessing data and predictive analysis for business decision making.

Hiring managers will be looking at strong technical know-how across all tech verticals as a non-negotiable requirement for talent, due to the demands for specialisation in the competitive market.

There is also increasing demand for professionals who are technically equipped and possess strong business acumen and engagement skills. “Gone are the days where employers are looking solely for technical experts. Most employers now would highly prefer employees who can work behind the computers and face stakeholders when required,” says Sheryl. 

Motivation, compensation, and flexibility key to attracting and retaining talent

There is no one-size-fit-all approach to retaining talent. Companies must prioritise understanding employees’ motivations.

Both Sheryl and Florie recommend companies prioritise getting to know their employees, as there is no one-size-fit-all approach to retain talent. “People are motivated differently. We encourage an environment of constant communication to better understand employees’ needs and to be aware of any changes that may affect motivation levels, such as desire for bigger job scopes or change in life circumstances, says Florie.

Sheryl shares that the emerging trend of “quiet quitting” can be combatted with “loud retaining” through compensation and benefits. “The increasing inflation is one of the drivers pushing talent to explore new job offers in hopes of higher remuneration packages.”

It is hence critical for companies to ensure compensation is competitive with market rates to help employees cope with the rising costs of living.

As covid-19 proved that work can be completed remotely, many candidates are observed to expect workplace flexibility arrangements offered by existing or potential employers.

Florie cautions, “Companies with lack of flexibility in work arrangements may be deemed as less considerate towards employee welfare and well-being, which may subsequently lead to employees checking out other opportunities in the market.”

Besides work-from-home as an option, companies can also offer alternative flexible work arrangements such as a change in working hours, adds Sheryl.

Tech salaries to grow in 2023

Salary increments are expected to continue in the tech sector in 2023, fuelled by candidates’ expectations and companies’ flexibility on budgets to secure top talent with the right skillsets.

Job movers required to return to offices may expect minimal increments of 30% to cover commuting costs.

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