Seven in 10 firms expect Malaysian business to pick up in 2018

Tom Osborne, regional director of Hays, speaking on Asia's Talent Market at The Intermark in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza  Zulkifli
Tom Osborne, regional director of Hays, speaking on Asia's Talent Market at The Intermark in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2018. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Business confidence in Malaysia is growing with 73 per cent of firms expecting business activity to increase in 2018, according to the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide released today.

During its presentation, Hays regional director Tom Osborne said optimism is also growing over the expected performance of Malaysia’s economy in 2018 with 23 per cent of employers expecting the economy to strengthen this year, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year.

“The economic outlook for Malaysia is very positive, but our research shows employers will take a conservative approach to both permanent hiring and salaries in 2018 to make the most of these conditions,” Osborne said.

“Although most companies in Malaysia plan to award only modest salary increases during their next review period, we do expect to see significant increases for candidates with niche skills moving jobs as well as those with skills in short supply in 2018.”

However, despite the positive feel good factor in the country, employers will remain cautious when it comes to hiring with only 46 per cent intending to do so in 2018 compared to 44 per cent in 2017.

Salary increases will also be moderate in 2018 with 49 per cent planning to offer salary increases from between 3 and 6 per cent, while 39 per cent of respondents planned to offer salary increases of more than 6 per cent.

“For candidates, these conditions represent something of a challenge. Those staying in a job are likely to see only modest salary increases while those changing employers have a better chance of securing a higher salary, but there are likely to be fewer new jobs coming to market.

“Candidates must do their research on what is happening in their sector to assess how much power they have in the market in 2018 and whether they need to do more to develop the skills in greatest demand,” Osborne said.

A preoccupying worry for many employers in Malaysia is the continuing skills shortages issue in the country that is also a prevailing theme across the Asia region.

A total of 96 per cent of employers believe that skills shortages will hamper the effective operations of their businesses.

Among the areas of concern were middle management in the sectors of accountancy and finance, information technology, sales, and marketing.

Now in its 11th year, the study surveyed more than 3,000 employers across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

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