SMBs in Malaysia drive demand for young, tech-savvy talent

  • Generation Y, also known as millennials, make up 76% of SMB employees
  • Spending time to understand skills gaps and develop a talent strategy is critical


SMBs in Malaysia drive demand for young, tech-savvy talent


SMALL and medium businesses (SMBs) in Malaysia are adopting digital technologies and hiring professionals with technology-related skills, according to data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. In Malaysia, there are more than four million members on the network.

LinkedIn has found that technology-related skills have the highest year-on-year growth among SMBs, indicating ongoing initiatives to improve their products, services, and operations. The fastest growing skills of SMBs in Malaysia are:

  • Cloud Computing
  • User Experience Design Tool
  • Data Visualisation
  • Back-end Web Development
  • Social Media
  • NoSQL
  • Data Science
  • TypeScript
  • React Nativs
  • Blockchain
  • Firebase
  • Docker Products

SMBs are also recruiting young talent to help them achieve their goals. Generation Y, also known as millennials, make up 76% of SMB employees, while Generation Z, who have recently graduated from college and are stepping into their first jobs, account for 7%. Generation X comprise 15% of SMB employees.

Hiring challenges of SMEs

While SMB owners’ priority is to run their day-to-day operations, spending time to understand skills gaps and develop a talent strategy is critical to the business.

SMBs are looking to hire new employees with specific skills and qualities that would help create or maintain an efficient, professional and productive workplace.  

However, they often struggle with lean teams and budgets. This makes it challenging to recruit young and digitally-savvy professionals who have access to diverse information and career options.

As SMBs look to attract the right talents, they can benefit from a more thoughtful approach to hiring.

“While today’s young professionals have a variety of options when looking for a job, we have found that they are drawn to opportunities that align with their purpose and enable them to develop themselves. Small and medium business owners interested in attracting them to be part of their teams can benefit from being open about their own aspirations, cultivating authentic connections, and sharing growth opportunities available to employees,” said Olivier Legrand (pic), managing director, Asia-Pacific, LinkedIn.

Click to enlargeSMBs’ guide to hiring  

For SMBs who are looking to build relationships with talent needed for their growth, LinkedIn shares the following tips:

1. Consider both the hard and soft skills needed for your business.  

While the fastest rising skills reflect the efforts of SMBs to take advantage of platforms available today, new innovations may emerge in the near future. This signals to SMBs to also look at soft skills like creativity and critical thinking in the hiring process.

These enable talent to respond to potential disruption or seize emerging possibilities for their business. By clearly communicating these when they post vacancies online, SMB employers enable the platform to match them to talent whose professional preferences align with their needs.

2. Showcase and celebrate your company’s culture and purpose.

Indicating interest in professional content, SMB employees in Malaysia follow 48 percent more company LinkedIn Pages compared to those working in large enterprises.  

SMB employers can take advantage of this by publishing job openings, posts, photos, videos, and articles about what it is like to work in their company. They can also explore LinkedIn’s new Open for Business feature that enables business owners to showcase their services on their page, making it easier for future employees or customers to find them.

3. Offer learning and development opportunities.

SMB employees in Malaysia are interested in learning and developing themselves. They are taking online classes on LinkedIn Learning, with courses tagged “Personal Development” topping their interest.

SMB employers are encouraged to incorporate learning and development programmes for their teammates. These can take the form of quick online courses that can be taken individually or as a group.

“As a company that has grown tremendously in the past two years, we have strengthened our employer brand and showcased what we have to offer to compete for great talent. We are proud of our great culture, learning and growth opportunities as well as an environment where our people can thrive personally and professionally.

“We leverage on LinkedIn to share our employee stories, highlight milestones and achievements, and propel our mission to help SMEs by connecting with the people that will help us do so,” said Toni Davis, Talent Acquisition and Branding Manager at StoreHub, a technology company that powers over 11,000 retail and F&B businesses in Southeast Asia.

“Finding the right talent is one of the most important decisions SMBs can make in their journeys. While being more deliberate about hiring can take more time and effort, it can save them a lot of issues down the line, and open up more opportunities for business growth,” said Legrand.  

SMBs looking for more hiring advice and resources can find them via LinkedIn for Small Business.


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