Malaysia embraces gen AI amidst skills gap concerns

Gen AI’s flexibility potential is met with a skills gap challenge in Malaysia, as employers lag in providing essential training.
By: | December 19, 2023

Workplaces in Malaysia are gearing up for a future powered by generative AI (gen AI) and flexible work arrangements.

Over half (63%) of employees see gen AI as a key to enhancing flexibility, and 70% are already using or planning to use the technology within a year. Employers are equally enthusiastic, with 84% expecting gen AI to boost flexibility and 96% planning to adopt it soon.

But amidst the excitement, a potential roadblock looms—a critical skills gap. Despite employees and employers acknowledging the importance of upskilling and reskilling for embracing new ways of working, only 22% of employers plan to provide training on gen AI-related skills.

Amid economic challenges, the EY 2023 Work Reimaging Survey revealed 39% of employees in Malaysia contemplate leaving their jobs in the next year. Reasons include better wellbeing programmes, remote work flexibility, and more competitive salaries elsewhere. Pay is a foremost concern for employees (40%), followed by the employer’s ability to attract talent (28%) and workplace flexibility (28%). Employers in Malaysia share similar priorities, indicating alignment on critical talent concerns.

However, there is a perception gap. While 64% of employers in Malaysia believe slower economic growth reduces employee turnover, only 57% of employees agree. And regarding the balance of power in the workplace, respondents see employers as having more influence than employees, fluctuating from 53% before the pandemic to 43% in 2022 and rising to 53% currently.

READ MORE: Malaysia unveils strategic report to close workforce talent gaps

The survey further indicated positive trends in workplaces in Malaysia embracing a hybrid work approach. About 52% of employers support a two-to-three-day remote work arrangement. However, a perception gap exists between employers and employees on leadership alignment, with 82% of employers believing alignment exists, compared to 62% of employees.

Lastly, the survey underscored growing awareness of neurodiversity, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. In Malaysia, 9% of respondents identify as neurodivergent. Embracing neurodiversity, with its unique traits, is seen as invaluable for meeting the increasing demand for digital skills.