Prospects for Technology recruitment in 2017 are very positive as employers remain attracted by Malaysia's blend of cost point and quality in this sector. Furthermore, companies are becoming increasingly ambitious in terms of the grade, subject matter expertise and general remit of candidates they are looking to hire, which is a positive sign.
Emergence of centres of excellence in Malaysia
In recent times, we have seen a drive towards the creation of 'Centres Of Excellence', resulting in increased demand for technology talent that is more specialist and further up the value chain. Malaysia is currently less competitive on cost point alone compared to other typical offshore centres, such as Chennai and Manilla. However, if you factor in the quality, seniority and specialist nature of IT professional that can be hired here, Malaysia is now moving towards being a cost-effective alternative to Singapore and Hong Kong. This represents a move away from the typical offshore BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) model that Malaysia is traditionally associated with.
This interesting evolution that we are seeing relates to the now very familiar territory of MNC shared services centres, and also SMEs looking to set up regional specialist hubs here in Asia.
The perception generally of Kuala Lumpur as a logistically viable, cost-effective and business-friendly setting will also continue to support this trend.
Moving into Q1 2017, we expect to see significant growth across the following sectors:
- Infrastructure Services such as networks, platforms and specialist areas such as Cloud and Virtualisation;
- IT Services Management and Governance areas such as ITIL and Lean IT, as businesses push to drive operational efficiency into their IT service delivery;
- ERP, EAI and other specialist off-the-peg solutions from large vendors such as SAP, Oracle and Salesforce;
- Digital platform development in areas such as .Net, full stack Java, Ruby on Rails, DevOps and QA;
- Business change and transformation, an increasingly dominant area of IT given the level of IT transition in Malaysia, which tends to be either technologically, functionally or purely business-aligned. As such we expect to see continued demand for professionals in Project Management, Program Management, PMO and Change management;
- Big Data Analytics technology such as Hadoop will see some increase in demand based on high profile national campaigns from MDEC, such as the BASE initiative to increase uptake in this area.
Technology leaders are in demand
Given the rise of Malaysian IT operations further up the value chain, we expect an increase in demand for IT leadership talent with a strong background in any individual or combination of the skills above.
For leaders, soft skills such as stakeholder management, ability to influence across a broad geographical remit, as well as ability to lead and engage a large workforce will be absolutely critical. Without a steady supply of local talent with such capabilities, the IT industry will find it challenging to transition towards the COE model.
This principle equally applies to areas of technical subject matter expertise, such as SAP and Java Development. The alternative to hiring local expertise will be to rely on expat resources to bridge the gap and provide the necessary knowledge transfer. On this front, as KL becomes more developed and raises its international profile, it will become increasingly attractive for expats to invest their careers here for the long term. That said, a sense of balance will need to be achieved to ensure long term sustainability on this front.
Malaysian business friendly policies around general set up, visas and taxation will continue to play a big role in driving the growth of the Technology job market
Furthermore, MDEC, the primary technology facilitation service in Malaysia continues to drive a number of initiatives to promote Big Data, Cloud, IOT and Digital in Malaysia and we do expect this to have a positive impact on demand as mentioned above.
Additionally, endorsement and advisory services from high profile figures such as Jack Ma will further raise the profile of Malaysia as a viable hub for technology innovation and delivery in target areas, resulting in increasing need for technology professionals.
On the contracting side, we predict a healthy increase in demand for interim staffing requirements at the mid to senior level. For many organisations in Malaysia, contracting is a necessary deployment option which meets the need to upscale and upskill quickly, based on the ebb and flow of project needs, without the regulatory and budgetary shackles of permanent hiring.
Given the pace of growth in IT services across Malaysia, we predict continued growth in the contracting area for 2017. A key area which will see increased demand for contract technology professionals will be digital platform development. This means a big uptick in interim, subject matter experts in Open Source, Full Stack Engineering and Front-End Web Development, as well as .NET.
Contract technology resource will also be sought for enterprise platforms such as ERP on the applications side and specialist network and platform services as businesses move more towards a Cloud model. Demand for project and program managers to lead the deployment of such services will also grow, as well as change functions, such as PMO and process improvement, as businesses seek to gain better control of timelines and resources.
Salary Report for Q1 2017*
*Notes about salary table:
- Titles and levels vary from organisation to organisation.
- The salary ranges given are only approximate guides. For tailored salary advice, please contact us directly.
- 12-month base salaries are assumed.
- All other benefits and bonuses are in addition to these figures.
- Bonus ranges can vary significantly from company to company and will be influenced by market conditions, business and individual performances. Bonus ranges from 1 month at the low end to 100%+ at the upper.
- Holiday entitlements range from 12–25 days with senior executives not usually receiving less than 18 days. Less than 15 is very rare and 20 days is becoming the norm.
- Healthcare policies are standard.
- Pension plans vary with some companies offering greater than the standard contribution. Top up schemes can increase employer contribution levels as much as 15–20% of the base salary for senior executives.
by Siew Yong Bong