As the job scene evolves, keeping track of the latest trends and demands in the workplace is essential to ensure you earn a spot in the working world when you graduate.
So if you’re looking for some inspiration to help you decide what to study, we’ve got your back.
Here are some of Malaysia’s in-demand jobs, based on the annual Critical Occupation List (COL) 2017/2018 report by TalentCorp Malaysia and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA).
With technology continuously improving in Malaysia, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is seeing changes in the industry and is calling for more involvement in advanced electronics manufacturing, research and development, logistics, design, innovation and the development of an automated manufacturing sector.
This is great news for engineering graduates as more jobs are being created to satisfy these demands. To boot, Malaysia needs some 200,000 engineers by 2020. However, as of 2017, there are only 70,000 registered engineers in the country.
Some of the in-demand engineering jobs include civil engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, electrical / electronics engineer, mechatronics engineer, mining engineer and research and development manager.
Not only that, engineering technicians with diplomas are also sought after, including electrical engineering technician, mechanical engineering technician and quality assurance engineering technician.
#2. Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is growing in Malaysia, which spells opportunity for skilled graduates in this field.
As technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and big data continue to grow and become increasingly important in the workplace, companies of all sectors are urgently seeking ICT professionals who have transformed how people work.
Some of the in-demand ICT jobs include systems analyst, software developer, applications programmer, database administrator and network engineer.
Despite a large number of graduates in this field, companies are reporting a shortage of business professionals with relevant working experience. Specifically, employers are reportedly looking for talent with specialisations in marketing, business administration, finance, economics and management.
For example, while no additional professional certifications are needed for the role of a sales and marketing manager, the report says this occupation is hard-to-fill due to candidates who lack the relevant job experience, resulting in the hiring of less qualified applicants.
The role of a finance manager is also difficult to fill, with some companies reporting that job applicants lack relevant job experience and required technical skills. There is also a shortage due to strong competition for finance managers from other industries.
Some of the top occupations in the field are sales and marketing manager, purchasing manager, policy and planning manager, production manager, financial analyst and business development manager.
More accountants are needed for Malaysia’s economic expansion activities — in fact, an estimated 60,000 professional accountants are needed by 2020. Additionally, businesses are seeking accountancy graduates to fulfill the various functions in different departments, opting for candidates who are versatile and adept in other areas of businesses in addition to finance and accountancy.
Employers also have a preference for those with a professional accounting qualification (e.g. ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA, etc.) on top of their Accounting Degree to ensure that their employees have the technical know-how in the field.
Among the in-demand accounting jobs include auditor, tax consultant, account executive, management accountant and financial controller.
While actuaries are critically needed in the insurance industry, their data-driven problem-solving skills are also required across other fields, including the financial services sector (banks, investment companies, etc.) and government bodies, making them high in demand.
To boot, according to the Actuarial Society of Malaysia, the insurance market is expected to grow in the next few decades, as will the demand for qualified actuaries in the country. It is predicted that regulatory developments and risk management will also increase as a result, furthering the need for more actuaries in the future.
At the same time, the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) has also indicated an expected demand for data analysts due to the growing data collection from digital platforms.
Some of the in-demand actuarial jobs include actuarial science mathematician, statistician, data analyst and product actuary.
A new entrant in the Critical Occupation List this year, the role of an occupational health and safety officer is to ensure that the work environment meets safety and health standards to reduce potential occupational hazards.
With many workplace accidents reported in the media, companies are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their staff on the ground, as well as to comply to safety regulations. Malaysia lacks some 9,000 safety and health officers while demand is expected to swell due to large development projects in the pipeline.
Not only that, input from the industry shows an increasing demand for technical safety officers, which are more specialised than industrial safety officers, as organisations move to comply to international standards.
Some of the in-demand jobs include industrial safety officer, technical safety officer and occupational health and safety officer.
As Malaysia progresses to become a developed nation and to contribute to the success of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, the demand for skilled lecturers in our higher education institutions has also increased.
Hence, the education sector is calling for more university and college lecturers who are masters or PhD holders as a minimum requirement for the role.
Lecturers specialising in the medical and health sciences, sciences, languages, education and engineering are particularly needed in the industry.
While Malaysia has many medical graduates, we are still facing a shortage of specialist doctors.
There are some 7,000 specialist doctors in the country to meet our population of over 30 million, which is not enough to meet the country’s medical needs. Specialists are needed in areas including adolescent medicine, paediatric rheumatology, intensive care medicine, urogynaecology and forensic psychiatry.
To be a specialist, doctors are required to have a postgraduate degree as well as extensive practical training experience, which has resulted in a difficulty in filling these roles.
Some of the critical roles needed include psychiatrist, paediatrician, dermatologist, orthopaedic surgeon, ophthalmologist and urologist.
Another new entrant in this year’s Critical Occupation List are chemists.
Many companies are reporting a need for chemists, particularly in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industry. However, many companies are receiving too few applicant for the role.
The Malaysian Institute of Chemistry (IKM) and Malaysian Textile and Apparel Centre (MATAC) reported that there is a shortage of dyeing experts in the country. Meanwhile, the Malaysian Rubber Products Manufacturers Association (MRPMA) added that chemists are needed for the research and development of new quality rubber products.
Additionally, the Malaysian Organisation of Pharmaceutical Industries (MOPI) reported that the pharmaceutical industry is also looking for organic chemists in product development.
Among the in-demand jobs include research and development, product development, quality control and dyeing experts.
Still in the Critical Occupations List is communications, particularly in the areas of public relations and advertising.
As communication shapes the views of a business’ target market, communication professionals are crucial to help them meet their business goals and grow their business. Public relations practitioners also play a pivotal role today, especially in shaping the reputation of an organisation as they help manage the voice of a company.
According to reports, the talent shortage is partly due to a lack of candidates with the relevant job experience and required skills, such as time management and creativity.
Some of the in-demand jobs include public relations executive, corporate communication executive, customer service officer, sales reservation executive and front office officer.
Now that you know what are some of the in-demand jobs in Malaysia, we hope that this will be useful in helping you decide your future career path. Bear in mind that you should also think about your passion and interest when choosing a potential career path as that will affect your success too!