Navigating Malaysia’s talent landscape

Thomas Mathew, Group CEO of Talent Corporation Malaysia, highlights the initiatives that are addressing Malaysia's talent challenges.
By: | November 16, 2023

As the country marches forward toward becoming ‘A Prosperous, Inclusive, Sustainable Malaysia’ in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan, the role of talent in the ever-evolving global economy is more paramount than ever. Recognising the importance of the country’s human capital as the key to transforming the nation into a high-income economy, Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) was incorporated to drive Malaysia’s talent strategy by attracting, nurturing, and retaining talent within the country. Through their initiatives, TalentCorp aims to make Malaysia a premier destination for talent and ensure the country remains competitive globally.

In driving this agenda, TalentCorp focuses on addressing the primary challenges in Malaysia’s talent ecosystem, namely (i) lack of creation of high-skilled jobs to match the number of graduates, (ii) underemployment arising primarily from talent mismatch, (iii) high unemployment among youth due to lack of industry-ready talent, and (iv) low participation of women in the workforce.

In addition to these fundamental challenges, there is also a need to be aware of and prepare to face the labour market disruptions caused by the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence and digital technologies, the growth of hybrid work and the gig economy, and the implementation of global Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards and compliance.

Understanding these challenges, TalentCorp builds partnerships and drives collaboration with the government, industry, and academia to create a supportive ecosystem that fosters the growth of human capital with a focus on developing a skilled and diverse workforce. Through these collaborations, TalentCorp aims to improve the well-being of Malaysians via initiatives that help reduce talent mismatch, nurture and produce employable graduates, encourage women’s participation in the workforce, and drive forward-looking initiatives that attract and retain talent in the job market.

TalentCorp’s initiatives, which are strongly data-driven, utilising insights and analytics, are developed for local and global talents, including students, graduates, working professionals, career comeback women, Malaysians abroad, high-skilled expatriates, employers, and stakeholders in the industry and academia.

“To address immediate critical skills gaps and talent shortages within the industries, TalentCorp actively shapes, influences, aligns, and refines policies while developing initiatives that drive talent interventions.” – Thomas Mathew, Group CEO, Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp)

To address immediate critical skills gaps and talent shortages within the industries, TalentCorp actively shapes, influences, aligns, and refines policies while developing initiatives that drive talent interventions like the Critical Occupations List (MyCOL) to underpin Malaysia’s talent policies.

To ensure graduates are employable and industry-ready, TalentCorp addresses the underlying need for the industry and academia to be on the same page via the Sector/Regional-Focused Industry-Academia Collaboration (IAC) platform, which fosters relationships between educational institutions and businesses, ensuring graduates possess skills aligned with industry requirements.

Reinforcing academic theory with valuable industry exposure and experience, TalentCorp encourages employers to provide meaningful and relevant internships for local students through the National Structured Internship Programme (MySIP). TalentCorp also actively shapes the youth talent pool through initiatives like the Young Employable Students (YES!) programme, being present in schools and universities/colleges to create awareness and provide insights on industry trends to ensure that Malaysian youth are employable and in line with industry needs.

TalentCorp recognises the importance of global competitiveness in the Malaysian work environment as the world becomes more interconnected. To attract and retain talent, TalentCorp advocates for the adoption of future work methods such as flexible work arrangements (FWA) and optimal work-life practices that create a conducive environment encouraging Malaysian professionals to build their careers locally rather than seeking opportunities abroad.

Recognising the invaluable contribution of women to economic and societal progress, TalentCorp addresses the low participation of women in the workforce via the Career Comeback Programme (CCP), which supports women who wish to return to work after a career break.

READ MORE: CHRO Malaysia 2023: How people development is shaping HR’s future

In ensuring that policies and initiatives are directly aligned with the needs and demands of the labour market, TalentCorp emphasises an industry-driven approach with the establishment of structured advisory networks such as the Industry-Talent Advisory Council (InTAC), the Women Agenda Council of Experts (WACE), and the Malaysia Global Talent Advisory Group (MyLead). These advisory groups consist of key industry leaders who provide strategic guidance and insights to influence positive outcomes in policy formulation and further narrow the gap in identifying and addressing talent challenges. Strengthening the industry-driven approach even further, leaders in these advisory networks are also considered in TalentCorp’s Board appointments.

The goal is to create a robust talent pool, driving economic growth by attracting both local and global talent. TalentCorp is committed to enhancing Malaysia’s talent sustainability, bridging skill gaps, reshaping workplaces, fostering a culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Collaboration, partnership, and alignment of efforts are critical to ensuring an optimally functioning national talent landscape. The need for Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs), Industries and the Government to work together is imperative to close the gaps.

About the author: Thomas Mathew is Group CEO, Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp).

Join him at CHRO Malaysia on 22 November 2023, where in his opening keynote address, Mathew will highlight the key challenges faced by Malaysia’s talent landscape while highlighting the opportunities that lie ahead.