On Wednesday (19 Aug), Randstad, the global leader in the HR services industry, announced the results of its Malaysian-based ‘2020 COVID-19 Labour Pulse Survey‘, revealing that 91 per cent of respondents have the intention to reskill or upskill in the next 12 months.
The local survey, commissioned by Randstad Malaysia, was conducted between 26 June 2020 and 5 July 2020 with 531 locally-based respondents. The study aims to understand the local workforce’s sentiments about the employment market this year and the challenges and experiences of job seekers thus far.
Reskilling and upskilling remain crucial in securing employment
Of the 91 per cent of respondents who intend to reskill and upskill themselves, 55 per cent said that they are doing so to be prepared for how automation and digitisation will affect their future.
21 per cent noted that they are looking to change their career or industry that they work in, while 13 per cent mentioned the fear of losing their current job due to redundancy.
”People tend to expect and plan for the worst-case scenario, especially since we are starting to learn the impacts of the pandemic on our economic and labour markets. The Malaysian government has launched pragmatic initiatives such as IR4.0 to drive digital transformation of the manufacturing and related services sectors in Malaysia, with the objective to upskill the local workforce and create new jobs,” said Ms Jaya Dass, Managing Director for Malaysia and Singapore at Randstad.
“With the advent of digital technology, having a wide variety of technical and soft skills will also allow candidates to exercise more flexibility when looking for jobs in a highly volatile market. With the pandemic, many have greater expectations of their employers to help guide their career development, specifically on the type of skills they should acquire and how to build their digital capabilities in the ‘new normal’. Reskilling and upskilling programmes benefit candidates who have recently entered a new industry as it allows them to learn the ropes of their new jobs.
“Employers can also leverage training to develop their employees into highly valuable and productive knowledge partners who are capable of driving growth and delivering results. Companies should thus strive to close the widening expectation gap, and invest in career development programmes to elevate the quality and readiness of their workforce to meet future needs and address potential challenges,” she added.
21% of respondents are looking to enter a different industry
The survey also found that 21 per cent of respondents are looking to reskill and upskill in order to enter a different industry.
Moreover, when asked about their salary expectations in 2020, 52 per cent said that they are willing to take on jobs with a lower salary.
“The pandemic has resulted in many rethinking their career choices, particularly for mid-career employees. Many are looking to transition into an industry that is perceived to be recession-proof, such as technology, research & development, essential goods manufacturers and e-commerce. Fresh graduates or mid career switchers looking to enter a new industry unrelated to their accumulated experience and skills understand that they might not have what it takes to meet job expectations in the new environment,” explained Ms Dass.
“As such, most are willing to accept a lower salary within their threshold, as long as they have the chance to gain the necessary experience to build their new career. Those who can successfully demonstrate a positive learning attitude and who are open to embracing change are more likely to build stable, fulfilling careers and become attractive employees in the long run,” she added.