Mike Farrance: The attractiveness of the IT sector in Malaysia

If you work in the IT industry, here’s some good news: the sector remains the most attractive globally, according to the 2017 Randstad Employer Branding Research. Ranked consistently among the most desirable sectors by workers in every region around the world, IT has a lot of coveted employment qualities. 

Why did the sector rank so highly? Its impact on everyday lives is certainly one reason, but when asked about the benefits of working in IT, workers said fundamental factors were the most important criteria. These include a good salary and benefits, a balanced work/life balance and long-term job security. While these qualities aren’t unique to IT, the findings confirm that companies in the sector sufficiently deliver these employee value propositions.

Creating an employer brand that better resonates with women workers will be increasingly important for IT companies as many try to close the gender gap in their organization. According to the Economist, only 21% of Silicon Valley executives are women, compared with 36% in all other industries. Furthermore, the industry in recent years has been marred by high-profile cases of discrimination, unfair pay practices and sexual harassment. If IT companies hope to compete and attract the younger workers who drive innovation, they must overcome some of the black marks that have consistently dogged its image. This requires a concerted effort to ensure pay parity for all, creating a pleasant work environment for women and offering job flexibility and career progression opportunities.

greater competition from outside
Such steps will help the industry to fend off competition from other sectors. While IT is a perennial favorite among working-age adults around the world, loyalty to the sector is not unconditional. Randstad’s research revealed that 75% of those working in the field are open to switching sectors. This presents a significant problem with retention and engagement.

It's a real concern for the industry at a time when other sectors are also ramping up hires for traditional IT skills such as software developers and data scientists. As digitalization proliferates throughout every kind of business, companies such as automotive manufacturers, logistics outsourcers, medical device makers and many others will increasingly compete with the IBMs and Hewlett Packards of the world. The gap in specialty IT skills, which has been rising in the industry in the past several years, will likely worsen as competition heats up.

According to the Randstad Employer Brand Research 2017, the prospect of losing their jobs to automation did not dampen their prospects, over six in ten employees said they would be happy to retrain into a new role provided that their salaries would remain the same or higher than before. Singapore and Malaysian employees were the most open to retraining with 72% and 70% stating so respectively, whereas only 52% of Hong Kongers felt the same way. On the opposite end, one in ten said they would rather move a different company than retrain.

 

IT attraction & retention
The use of new technologies will reshape the future of employment as robots will eliminate the need for manpower in repetitive jobs, enhance productivity and ultimately help sluggish economies. 

What's more, other sectors are employing more IT specialists to keep up with the industry and stay on the cutting-edge of innovation. Digitization has started to infiltrate almost every business with the top talent looking for better opportunities and offers from sectors that invest in IT and other employee benefits. 

The skills shortage within this sector has also been rising, with a greater need for specialty skills and an ever-evolving skill set, making talent harder to find and keep. 

Under these conditions, how can the IT business retain its top skilled employees and stay ahead of the game? This is where Employee value proposition comes into the picture. Employers are responsible in creating a stellar EVP as a strategy to retain their top talents with the market leaders having this high on their strategic initiatives. 

IT professional demand in banking and finance sectors
Most banks and financial institutions are looking to mitigate cyber risks with the increased number of money-laundering and fraud cases in recent times. IT Network professionals are more in-demand than ever.

Bank Negara opened applications for parties intending to create innovative ways to improve the quality, efficiency and accessibility of financial services in Malaysia last year, in line with global trends.

Financial technology (FinTech) is touted as a game changer — the revolution that is turning the financial services industry on its head. All this talk about how FinTech is blurring the lines between the financial services and technology sectors evokes a sense of upheaval and change, with the outlook and final outcome uncharted and uncertain.

Keeping with the theme of  game changers, most, if not all insurance businesses are taking their journey through the times of mobile, online applications, ecommerce and user experience. It will be interesting to see how digitalised these industries become. 

The china effect
Jack Ma is primarily known for being the founder of the e-commerce giant 'Alibaba', which is one of the top websites in the world. Alibaba handles more business than any other e-commerce company.

With Najib appointnig Ma as his government's digital economy adviser the plan is to set up a regional distribution hub in Malaysia aiming to grow Malaysia's digital economy with the implementation of online payments and banking.It has been suggested Malaysia can expect to generate more than 7 billion ringgit ($1.58 billion) worth of domestic and foreign investments from this pioneering project.

Malaysia is ranked a number 1 upper middle income nation and wants to be a knowledge-based, high-income nation by 2020. This coincides with Malaysia’s digital economy growth initiative - A thriving digital economy has the ability to contribute 20% to the GDP by 2020. With Ma’s outstanding merit it is exciting times for e-commerce in Malaysia. 

the future of IT employment in Malaysia

The IT sector is a healthy place to be but we should be concerned. To prevent a serious skills shortage the sector needs to build up a pipeline of IT workers for the future, and this can only be done by improving its employee value proposition - meaning what will the employees gain, not just financially, from working in IT. This can be anything from flexible working to extended leave and unlimited holiday time. Today, IT organisations need to provide the most engaging and attractive work environment for employees in order to attract and retain the very best in IT talent. Some familiar names likes Google and Facebook have done this very well.  

Beyond these headline-grabbing initiatives, the industry must continue to engage and nurture young talent, creating scholarships and training program to incentivize today’s students to become tomorrow’s workers. At the same time, it needs to provide robust continuing education for its current workforce. After all, just as many of last year’s IT technologies have already become outdated, the workers who helped developed and support them also risk becoming obsolete in this fast-moving business.


Ultimately, when it comes to the future, the pace of training needs to reflect the fast pace of change in the industry – complacency can be a killer. 


To get a PDF copy of this IT update, click here. Interested in a job in the information technology field? Click here to see available positions. Let us be a part of your next career move. 

 

< return to previous page

Comments

No comments posted yet.

write a comment

  1.  
submit your comment