02/12/2020

Wanted: The young and savvy

Wanted: The young and savvy

Covid-19 pandemic triggers demand in job market for individuals skilled in information technology

BY SHIVANI SUPRAMANI

newsdesk@thesundaily.com

PETALING JAYA: Digital skills and youth have never been more crucial. At a time when businesses are shedding jobs at an unprecedented rate, IT skills continue to hog the hirer’s focus.

The data tells the story. Job search platform WOBB has seen a 40% growth in recruitment, even higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic, and practically all potential employers are looking only for digitally-savvy Gen Y and Gen Z talent.

According to WOBB founder and chief executive officer Derek Toh, this is a reflection of how the technology or technologically-innovative sectors have not only survived the Covid-19 economic fallout, but even thrived in it.

As expected, the young are masters of the game.

The conditions are ideal. The Covid-19 pandemic and the various forms of movement control order have made it necessary to work from home. Being adept at getting the job done armed with just a keyboard becomes essential.

“This is a great place for young talent to build their career. Companies with an innovative mindset and ability to adapt continue to thrive in such difficult times,” Toh told theSun.

This is all happening against a backdrop of high unemployment. The Department of Statistics reported that in August, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7% and would likely continue to rise. The average rate in 2019 was 3.32%, down 0.03% from 2018.

The unemployment rate was projected to rise marginally to 3.38% this year but that was before Covid-19 stormed in and left a trail of destruction across the globe.

Statistics from the department also show that a total of 15.15 million Malaysians were gainfully employed in August, accounting for 65.2% of the population. This was a mere 0.5% increase over the July figure, most likely helped by a surge in the IT sector.

As Toh pointed out, the recovery is still slow for most industries hit by the pandemic.

The worst hit are the travel and tourism, food and beverage and retail sectors. Even so, signs of a recovery are already discernible, albeit very small.

“There are pockets of employers who appear to have adapted successfully to the pandemic, either by moving their businesses to the digital space or transforming to fit the needs of the current market,” Toh said.

Unsurprisingly, this adaptability and culture require digitally-savvy talent.

Seekers Malaysia, another online recruitment agency and job posting platform, has reported increasing numbers of job vacancies since May.

“There were more than 300 vacancies in September and close to 400 in November,” a spokesman of the agency said.

“Companies in manufacturing, business process outsourcing, e-commerce, logistics and consultancy are all said to be actively hiring.”

Job Xcel Sdn Bhd director Manohar Ramachandran said the pandemic has forced change upon the way companies operate.

“In the first quarter of the pandemic, there were no proper guidelines on how companies can continue to operate but things have changed now and the job market is picking up at a slow pace,” he said.

“Things have bounced back and we are seeing more government initiatives that have helped the affected sectors, such as tourism, get back on their feet.”

One such initiative is the “green travel bubble programme” announced on Nov 20 by Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to revive the domestic tourism sector.

Manohar said Job Xcel has been hiring for international and non-governmental organisations and, as expected, they are all looking for local IT talents.

“Our only problem now is finding the right talent,” he added.