It’s all about talent development, not recruitment
Employers have to play their part, not rely on govt
“WE are not your training factory,” said Muhammad Imran Kunalan Abdullah (pic above), director of Talent Division at Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), when speaking at the national ICT custodian’s annual Talent Conference on Sept 17.
He was referring to the fact that MDeC kept getting requests to upskill talent from companies whose staff had already benefited from its various talent development programmes.
“These companies were actually losing the talent they had sent through our various programmes and when this happened, conveniently asked us to train more of their people,” he said.
MDeC manages the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC Malaysia) project, which aims to boost the ICT industry in the country.
Instead of playing their part by working harder to retain talent, the companies were taking the easy way out by relying on MDeC’s various upskilling programmes, Imran argued, urging them to be more proactive in fostering the right environment and culture to keep their talent motivated and loyal.
By doing this, Malaysian companies, particularly tech companies, would be doing nothing more than keeping up with the current focus in human resource (HR): Talent development. Consulting firm Deloitte has described this as The War to Develop Talent, noting that the talent management pendulum is swinging from recruitment to development.
The signs are already there in Malaysia, with MDeC’s latest Talent Supply and Demand survey among its MSC Malaysia companies revealing that 80% are demanding experienced talent, versus only 20% which want fresh graduates.
And with the rule of thumb being that it costs twice as much to replace talent versus keeping them, MDeC is trying to drive home the point that companies need to do more, not just to retain their talent but to also upskill them.
Hence the talent conference was expanded to a two-day event from the usual single day, while designed, in Imran’s words, to teach the HR executives in attendance “to fish rather than to be fed the fish.”
Among the other speakers were Talent Corporation chief executive officer Johan Merican and JobStreet.Com country manager for Malaysia, Chook Yuh Yng.
Johan shared some data on the involvement of ICT and Shared Services and Outsourcing (SSO) companies with the various Talent Corp programmes (see chart below).
While the overall involvement was very low, he noted that the Resident Pass programme, which facilitates the entry of foreign talent into the country, had the strongest participation from the ICT sector, revealing that key skills in the ICT sector were still beyond the domain of Malaysians.
He also shared his observation that undergraduates still seemed to have a low opinion of the SSO sector in particular. But what he found more worrying was that most undergraduates were not even aware of the SSO sector.
“The sector needs to identify and agree upon what the true proposition is to those wanting to join it, Johan (pic) said.
“Only then can you start to build upon this and brand the entire sector as a whole,” he said, adding the same advice applied to the wider ICT sector too.
JobStreet’s Chook shared that the job market was still buoyant, with a new trend among job-seekers being to rely on mobile phones to search for jobs.
“Three years ago this was not even a blip but today, as of end September 2014, 34% of jobseekers on JobStreet have applied for jobs through their mobiles,” she said.
This tremendous growth has seen JobStreet focus on creating mobile-friendly designs for its portal and launch a mobile app that allows jobseekers to update their résumés through their smartphones.
One amusing user behaviour that Chook shared with the audience was a chart that revealed Monday to be the most popular day of the week for people to search for new jobs.
“You would think they would do this over the weekend but they obviously prefer to do this on company time while dealing with their Monday Blues,” she quipped.
While employers may frown upon this, one healthy development that Imran highlighted was that instead of relying on their companies, talents today are increasingly paying for their own certification and thus controlling their own career mobility.
This changing dynamic is no doubt helped by the favourable economics of undergoing the various MDeC talent programmes. Imran said that the cost of SAP instructor-led modules, in the first year of MDeC offering them in 2008, was US$9,000 (RM29,000).
However, in those early days, MDeC actually paid for this and offered the programmes to companies for free.
“But the model now has changed from free to one with huge discounts from the domain providers – with a further rebate from MDeC if the talent passes the programme,” Imran said.
That same module that used to cost US$9,000 today costs between US$2,500 and US$3,700 (RM8,000 and RM12,000), not including the US$1,250 (RM4,000) rebate from MDeC.
The SAP modules fall under MDeC’s MyProCert (SRI) programme which forms the anchor of its talent upskilling programmes. From just offering SAP skills in 2008, today MyProCert offers 30 domain certification courses covering 80 skills.
In many conferences on talent or HR issues, blame for the lack of talent or insufficient talent always ends up at the door of academia and this conference was no different, with JobStreet’s Chook (pic) pointing out that employers feel that the curriculum in academia needs to quickly narrow the gap to deliver what industry needs.
But beyond the familiar scapegoat for the talent woes of the private sector, the focus of this conference was to inform and educate the private sector that they need to be doing a lot more to upskill their existing talent … rather than blame anyone else.
ICT industry faces multipronged challenges: Pikom
ICT has among best-paying jobs in Malaysia: JobStreet survey
Glut of ICT grads, glut of jobs
TalentCorp kicks off 2013 outreach program
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