94% of professionals sees upskilling as a priority — Hays report

94% of professionals sees upskilling as a priority — Hays report
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 5): A majority or 94% of Malaysian respondents regard upskilling as important, particularly in the areas of digital and remote working-related skills, according to recruitment expert Hays.

"The drive to learn and upskill amongst Malaysia's professionals, as well as their inherent confidence in their skills, has been a continuing trend that has likely been cemented by the pandemic," said Hays, citing its report titled "Uncovering the DNA of the Future Workplace in Asia".

Nearly two-thirds or 64% of respondents believe that increased training and development opportunities would contribute to their organisations becoming more "future-ready".

When asked which upskilling or development opportunities have become important to them after the Covid-19 outbreak, 89% of respondents prioritise digital skill development, followed by reskilling (83%) and e-learning opportunities (78%), alongside training in remote leadership (73%) and remote orientation (69%).

While the rise in importance of digital skill development and reskilling is a region-wide trend that is likely rooted in the ongoing uncertainty, Hays noted that the rise of importance in e-learning, remote leadership and remote orientation is well in line with the rising importance of remote and flexible working options in Malaysia.

Notably, half of employers in Malaysia currently offer avenues for e-learning (50%), less offer avenues for digital skill development (29%), reskilling (24%), remote orientation (28%) and remote leadership training (16%), indicating a lag in the remote mindset of employees versus employers.

At the same time, Malaysia consistently emerges as having the greatest number of respondents in the region who believe their current skill sets would still be relevant in the next two to three years (42%), including their hard skills (81%).

However, the majority also believe that their soft skills could improve (72%).

"In the new era of work, companies may have transitioned enough to survive uncertainty, but a workplace of the future will need to go beyond this to stay relevant in the times to come," said Hays Malaysia managing director Tom Osborne.

"In Malaysia, the resounding push from respondents for more flexible and remote working is compounded by the rising importance of soft skills, digital skills and remote skill sets of remote orientation and remote leadership," he said.

Osborne also noted that it is apparent then that a workplace of the future in Malaysia will not only offer flexible and remote ways of working but also have training and measurement in place for these skills to not only be imparted but developed and evolved with the times.

This report surveyed over 9,000 working professionals across Asia firstly in February 2020 and then later in the year from between September and October.

Kathy Fong