5G rollout to drive local tech job market - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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5G rollout to drive local tech job market

5G rollout to drive local tech job market

14 Mar 2023

Demand for strong talent to continue despite general sentiment in the market remaining cautious

The layoffs in US-based tech giants, which started last year, have left many wondering if Malaysia will face the same situation.

The US-based tech companies have slashed more than 93,000 workers so far in 2023 due to the rising inflation and overzealous hiring, according to Crunchbase data.

However, Malaysia is unlikely to see mass layoffs in tech companies, especially since the country started to deploy its 5G cellular networks last year.

Recruitment technology firm Grit Search Singapore Pte Ltd said the deployment of 5G has the potential to drive the tech job market and potentially create new job opportunities in Malaysia.

Grit Search CEO Paul Endacott said while the risk of mass layoffs in Malaysia’s tech industry cannot be completely ruled out, several factors suggest that the industry may be in a stronger position to weather economic downturns and remain competitive.

According to him, there are several key areas that will open employment opportunities with the ongoing deployment of the 5G network.

“The deployment of 5G networks requires significant investment in infrastructure, including the installation of new antennas and network equipment.

“This could create new job opportunities for technicians, engineers and other workers involved in the deployment process,” he said in response to The Malaysian Reserve.

The deployment of 5G will also necessitate developers and engineers to build applications and services that leverage 5G technology; consequently, it will increase the demand for these skill sets.

Moreover, 5G is expected to play a critical role in the development of Internet of Things (IoT) which will benefit IoT specialists.

Besides, the need for cyber security professionals to protect against cyber threats and attacks will also increase on the back of the 5G rollout.

“In addition to these areas, the deployment of 5G technology could also drive innovation and new business models in the tech industry,  which could create additional job opportunities,” he said.

It is also positive to see that the government has introduced several initiatives to support the tech industry, such as the digital free trade zone, aiming to boost the country’s e-commerce industry.

However, he opined that the job market will also depend on factors such as the pace of 5G deployment, the demand for 5G-enabled services and applications, as well as the availability of skilled workers in these areas.

Moving ahead, Endacott sees that demand for strong talent is set to continue despite general sentiment in the market remaining cautious.

“When it comes to venture capital-backed or scale-up digital native businesses, the investor mindset has moved from high-scale growth to a path to profitability, which impacts how these companies will hire moving forwards,” he said.

Therefore, the industry needs to keep in mind the global uncertainty and macroeconomic factors that will be keeping wholesale growth plans in check.

“However, demand for technology talent will continue, and we are already seeing strong demand in key areas like cyber security, data and artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning,” he said.

On the back of high demand in those areas, he said strong talent related to expertise will likely see significant opportunities and higher-than-average increments.

“We now live in a hybrid digital world and while the coming months may be a bit more subdued than last year, as the world normalises, Malaysia is well-positioned to capitalise on its investment in technology and digitalisation, and this bodes well for talent in this area,” he said.

Meanwhile, Randstad Malaysia foresees that the tech industry will be the focal point of growth in Malaysia in the coming years.

“The digital technology industry is projected to contribute 22.6% of GDP by 2025,” Randstad Malaysia country director Fahad Naeem said in its report on the technology industry outlook for 2023.

Correspondingly, digital job vacancies have tripled from 19,000 to 56,000 within a year and 5G technology development is expected to create 750,000 jobs by 2023 in Malaysia alone.

While many global companies are cutting back on recruitment activities in light of the recession and record high inflation, he said this would benefit Malaysia.

“The recession could benefit Malaysia’s labour market as companies are likely to move their business units and headcount from European to South-East Asian countries.

“This would drive the creation of new jobs for the local workforce and will also attract more top-tier global talent to relocate to Malaysia,” he said.

According to him, some businesses have closed or merged during the pandemic and this has created an opportunity for new business entrants.

“With more customers demanding customised experience, we are seeing more start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) emerge in technology, construction, manufacturing and shared services. These new businesses will also create more jobs and put more people to work,” he said.

Notably, the country’s labour market is anticipated to improve next year, while the Finance Ministry (MoF) has forecasted that unemployment rate will reduce this year.

“As we enter 2023, we expect this trend to continue, albeit at a slightly slower pace and with a greater focus on specialised roles.

“Companies will see success in their hiring strategies only if steps are taken to manage new talent expectations and upskill the local workforce,” he added.

Source: The Malaysian Reserve