Executive Search in Malaysia – 2019 Outlook

Glass half full or half empty?

The Malaysian economy is expected to face another tumultuous year in 2019.  It is being challenged by on-going domestic adjustments and rising external headwinds, particularly lingering uncertainties about the state of the US-China trade disputes and further tightening of the US interest rates.

Malaysia’s economic growth momentum slowed to an annual rate of 4.4% in the third quarter of 2018, the slowest pace in almost two years.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The drag on growth came from multi-faceted factors (weakening exports, declines in mining and agriculture output, a sharp contraction in public investment and moderate private investment growth).

The key driver of 2019’s economic growth, which is estimated to grow by 4.5%-4.7% (estimated 4.6%-4.8% in 2018) would be domestic demand-driven, largely underpinned by private sector spending.

The strength of private consumption, the biggest expenditure component (2018: 55% of GDP) must be held firmly by at least 6.5% growth in 2019 (an average of 7.4% pa from 2016 to2018).

The Employment Landscape

Across industries, job seekers in Malaysia seeking middle to top management positions will need to sharpen their soft skills in leadership, communication, business partnering/business acumen, business strategy and learning agility to have a better chance to secure these high-yield positions as talents in these areas are scarce.

Hiring managers will be increasingly looking for professionals with strong functional experience, strategic mindsets and strong leadership skills.

Companies will be eager to hire human resources professionals with more than generalist or administrative experience, favouring candidates with an ability to leverage human capital to add value to the business. Technical know-how is also a key requirement as digital transformation and automation of various key sectors is still ongoing.

There is likely to be a rise in SMEs, corporate organizations and multi-national companies adopting automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digitalisation in their business processes in 2019, hence, there will be a rise in demand for talents with a good mix of soft skills and technical know-how.

The marketplace is getting more competitive, pushing companies to embark on aggressive digital transformation initiatives to stay relevant and improve business processes.  Companies are expected to increase investment in new systems and talent development to create greater presence online.

Contact Martin Braddock, for further discussion; martin-braddock@cornerstone-group.com