More Malaysian companies look to hire candidates with skills, over qualifications like education or experience: LinkedIn Future of Talent Report

 Professional network, LinkedIn, has launched the first edition of the Future of Talent report, to find out how the future of work has changed. The report looks at the shifting role of Human Resource teams in organisations, how organisations plan, hire, develop and engage their talent, and how employer branding helps organisations attract and retain their best people.

The report found that skills will continue to pave the way for economic recovery and growth — and will eventually become the new currency for workers in the future world of work. More companies in Malaysia would prefer to hire candidates with skills, over qualifications like education or experience.

On top of hiring externally, companies in Malaysia were willing to tap on existing talent to fill open roles. In order to help their employees learn new skills, many companies now have a dedicated training program. We also found that HR played a bigger role during the pandemic, such as taking the lead in training employees. As we move into the post COVID-19 era, HR is set to be at the forefront of company strategy.

Skills-based hiring emerge as means to close the skills gap

Last year, we saw skills rise to the fore — workers were starting to pick up new skills, and organisations began to practice skills-based hiring.

This trend is set to continue. The report found that more companies in Malaysia prefer to hire candidates with technical skills (38%) and transferable skills (28%). This is prioritised over traditional qualifiers like education (10%) and minimum years of experience (12%). In fact, 2 out of 3 (67%) companies are open to hiring employees from another industry if the skills they possess match the job requirements.

As organisations look beyond assessing a candidate solely based on traditional qualifiers and turn their focus towards skills, they are able to plug vital skills gaps while reaping the rewards of a more diverse and adaptable workforce.

External hiring is not the only way to acquire skills in demand. The report found that companies are becoming more open to tapping on talent within the organisation to fill open roles. 85% of companies in Malaysia are willing to hire internally as they can leverage existing employees’ insider’s perspective (72%), provide a sense of progress to employees (65%), and encourage loyalty (56%).

However, companies must provide training programmes to aid employees in learning the relevant skills. Companies in Malaysia look for three soft skills in particular when hiring internally, namely, problem solving skill, communication skills, and strategic thinking. Among these three, problem solving skills (46%) stood out as one of the in-demand skill sets as compared to other markets in APAC.

Feon Ang, Vice President, Talent and Learning Solutions, APAC, LinkedIn, said: “As a result of the pandemic, new roles have been created and existing ones have evolved. Hiring talent with the right skills set for these roles is very important to organisations, and these days, it matters less that the talent has the traditional qualifications or industry experience. Going forward, we can expect to see a skills-based economy take shape, with skills becoming the new currency for workers in the future world of work. I encourage all individuals to adopt a growth mindset, and keep learning to stay relevant.”

Keeping employees engaged as they work remotely is just as important to organisations

In order to implement a hiring process based on skills, HR leaders are tapping on the power of data and insights. Almost 9 in 10 companies in Malaysia understand the importance of using data-driven insights in their hiring decisions. In fact, Malaysian companies (55%) lead the region in using data very frequently for mapping skills with open position requirements.

The top areas of data usage are in identifying skills needed in the future (57%), top technical skills required for a particular role or profile (55%)and measuring employee performance (52%).

Data can also help companies design effective employee engagement activities. 30% of companies in Malaysia experienced higher employee attrition due to COVID-19 where 42% of Malaysians have left an organisation for a career change.  Companies have to double down on employee engagement efforts to help employees stay inspired and connected. According to the report, flexible working plans is the most effective activity in boosting engagement level and this is especially important with hybrid and remote work here to stay. On average, companies in Malaysia aim for a mix of 41% remote employees and 59% physical employees.

Ang said: “With skills being an engine of growth now and into the future, it is critical that HR and business leaders are equipped with advanced tools like data analytics. These tools can help them to identify both potential candidates who have those set of skills and internal hires who can be reskilled.”

The roles and responsibilities of HR will expand, especially in employee training and engagement

During COVID-19, the report saw an expansion of HR’s roles and responsibilities. In Malaysia, 55% of companies said HR played an important role in employee training and development, and 57% cited employee engagement as another important area of HR’s role.

HR will also continue to play a significant role in shaping business strategies. Prior to COVID-19, HR played a significant role in shaping business strategies in 54% of Malaysian companies. During the pandemic, the importance of HR was elevated further in 68% of organisations as many companies recognised the importance of having the right talent in reshaping business strategy. HR will continue to play a bigger role as we move into a post COVID-19 era, where at least 9 in 10 companies in Malaysia feel that it will play a meaningful part in streamlining business and in formulating strategies.

 About LinkedIn’s Future of Talent Report  

HR and business leaders are looking to develop and adapt their talent strategies amidst a fast-changing world of work that has been shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. LinkedIn’s Future of Talent report seeks to uncover insights that will help these organisations plan, hire, develop and engage with their employees. The report provides insights on various topics, including the expanding role of HR; changing talent architecture including remote work and internal mobility; skills in-demand; the importance of gender diversity; and employer branding and employee engagement.


LinkedIn commissioned independent market research firm GfK to conduct this research across the Asia Pacific region including Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. A quantitative 20-minute online survey was conducted with over 3,500 respondents from small, medium and large enterprises. The respondents include HR personnel, senior-level hiring managers or top management from varied industries such as Software and IT services, Corporate services, Manufacturing, Consumer goods, Construction, Finance, Education, Retail, Healthcare, Transportation and Logistics, Agriculture, Recreation and Travel, Public Administration and Hardware and Networking.


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