By Farhan Kamarulzaman
SINCE the demand for tech talents across every industry rapidly grows due to the massive adoption of technology by the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in this COVID-19 era, it is a timely call for the country to aggressively develop and produce more tech talents in meeting the necessary demand for digital transformation.
This is because the demand for tech talents has increased significantly according to Randstad Malaysia’s latest talent outlook report, possibly due to the rise in demand for almost every organisation moving to the digital economy for business survival during the crisis.
Indeed, this unprecedented moment, which involves the country’s attempts to curb the COVID-19 spread, such as through various movement control order (MCO) phases, travel restrictions and face setbacks such as disruption of global supply chains, has forced businesses to establish the capability to operate digitally as the only secure way to survive and avoid business closures during the crisis.
For instance, Randstad Malaysia and Singapore managing director, Jaya Dass also stated that many organisations scrambled to have the right resources and technology to allow their workers to continue working remotely with the short window time to move operations from the office to home.
It is later proven by the survey of the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) that 60% of respondents, made up of executives, indicated that they had accelerated the digital transformation of their businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IBV’s survey, called Digital Acceleration Study, also precisely portrayed the technologies that provide the most impressive performance impact on success across industries: mobile, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud.
This is an inspiring piece of news for the nation about how COVID-19 presents companies with challenges, but at the same time provides them with opportunities to fasten digital transformation as the only way out of the pandemic shackles.
However, it is also a good lesson to be learned because digital adoption among companies was seen to be lower during pre- COVID-19 compared to now.
Frankly, the pandemic indeed opened up great opportunities for them to urgently embrace digital transformation due to relentless pandemic pressure and it should be consistent even after COVID-19 era.
But it’s becoming a problem when most companies are still struggling to search for the right tech talents who could effectively help leverage the technologies and in turn, can assist their digital transformation process.
This illustrates why it is essential to have reliable tech talents to ensure digital transformation’s success. It can be easily expressed; where businesses put the entire focus on the transition towards the digital economy, great tech talents also need to be there to perfect the digital adoption.
Furthermore, the growth of tech talents will also drive our country’s digital transformation progress or even in realising Malaysia 5.0 that has been actively championed by the chairman of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the CEO of EMIR Research, Datuk Wira Hj Rais Hussin.
In terms of employment, Randstad Malaysia expects more job opportunities to be open to local talents due to this digital transformation. It may be like killing two birds with one stone, where it can secure more local workforce on meeting the high demand for tech talents and reduce the unemployment rate.
To further facilitate this fantastic digital initiative by the businesses, the government should put in more efforts into the tech talents development in Malaysia via great collaboration with various industries for a rapid and comprehensive effect.
For instance, MDEC has also introduced a programme called “tech talent development,” which is one of the critical strategic thrusts that will form the basis of the national digital strategy.
The IT industry also plays a significant role in magnifying the MDEC’s effort to train more tech talents effectively. The government will then be responsible for ensuring that the training and courses provided will give our local workforce valuable exposure and relevant skills in making this initiative a success.
Besides, the short-term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) was undoubtedly a brilliant idea in providing several initiatives for upskilling and reskilling the local workforce to meet the increased demands for tech talents.
However, it will take a long time to be successful, maybe around a few years, and therefore require more improvements so that the development of tech talents will be quicker and more effective to help companies survive throughout the ongoing crisis.
This can take the form of a robust on the job training by pairing up companies with respective training centres.
Given 2021 has just started, people will continue to observe how emerging technologies such as fintech, AI and the internet of things (IoT) will positively impact the nation across the year.
It’s just a matter of the preparation of the nation to face this massive digital transformation. In this case, the most prominent factor is the sufficient supply of tech talents to meet the high demand.
Not only that, Malaysia also needs to be fully prepared for better digital infrastructure to adapt to the new norm this year due to the continuous impact of COVID-19 to the country that would subsequently increase the urgency of digital adoption among businesses. – Jan 10, 2021
Farhan Kamarulzaman is a Research Assistant at EMIR Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.