The latest Malaysia Salary Guide for 2019 unveiled by Kelly Services, has shined a spotlight on the growing need for digital skills among workers as Malaysia is swept by the digitalisation wave. The report shows that demand for digital talent is fast growing despite a comparative shortfall of supply, a sign that Malaysia is facing challenges in building its digital workforce.

The report, which dives into a wide range of employment sectors, points out that the banking and shared services sectors have been seeing slower growth since the last Malaysian elections. On the other hand, the engineering and information technology sectors are expected to grow in 2019.

Commenting on the report, Brian Sim, Managing Director and Country Head of Kelly Services Malaysia said, “As more and more businesses embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution and digitally transform their businesses, a growing skill gap can be seen in the Malaysian talent pool, with digital competency a core component of many jobs today. This issue is being addressed by both the Malaysian government as well as organisations through various policies and initiatives, but workers must also take the initiative to upskill themselves to remain competitive in this evolving employment landscape.”

The engineering sector in Malaysia is poised for growth despite the suspension of some major infrastructure projects and slowing growth in the manufacturing sector. With the support of government initiatives such as the Industry4WRD policy as well as the government’s goal to double the number of skilled workers from 18% to 35% by 2025, there is a clear interest in developing this sector.
Talents in this sector that possess both technical knowledge and soft skills will continue to be highly sought after by employers across different industries. Accordingly, top jobs from this sector in 2019 will include Head of Production and Project Managers.

Information technology (IT)
The expansion of Malaysia’s digital ecosystem will see the implementation of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data, while spending on IT products and services is projected to reach RM65.2 billion. This bodes well for IT professionals who are equipped with the skill set to leverage these technologies in 2019.
Much like the engineering sector, soft skills such as communication and management will play a decisive factor in the growth of IT professionals, as employers are increasingly seeking individuals with hybrid skills to take on new roles and assist the business in their digital transformation journey.
Positions like SAP Team Leads and Information Security Managers will likely see a rise in demand this year and are also among the highest paying jobs of 2019.

Banking and Financial Services
The banking and financial services sector on the other hand, will see a challenging year ahead. Despite this, the report indicates a continued trend towards job creation in this sector for high skilled positions such as financial analysts, prioritizing professionals equipped with the relevant digital competencies.
Furthermore, following the signing of a collective agreement by the members of the Malayan Commercial Banks’ Association, various employee groups in local banks will also benefit from adjusted salaries in 2019.

The report also indicates that Human Resources (HR) professionals will continue playing an increasingly important role in the growth of Malaysian businesses.
“Companies today are facing challenges in identifying the right person for the job, as skills deficit continue to be a concern, particularly when it involves digital marketing, e-commerce and big data,” adds Sim. “HR leaders must not just evolve the way they hire, but also work closely with their business heads to implement and execute training initiatives to develop their workforce in order to drive business growth.”

The Salary Guide has been created with the intention of providing both employers and employees with key insights across a wide array of industries and to help them navigate through an increasingly competitive job arena. Leveraging historical data compiled by Kelly Services Malaysia, the Guide provides insights on the various sectors in Malaysia and the key jobs to look out for in 2019.