HR Forum

Robust growth in IT sector

The information technology (IT) sector in Malaysia continues to see robust growth. In the first six months of this year, there was an increase in hiring trends especially from business process outsourcing (BPO), shared services centres, software development companies, banking and IT consulting companies.

The top four key hiring areas were software engineers, business development managers, project managers and regional sales managers.

While much of the hiring activity is taking place at the junior to mid level, Malaysia is experiencing a shortage of senior level IT professionals, with some professionals being offered a 50% increase in salary levels as an incentive to join these firms.

There are many Malaysian professionals at this level working abroad, especially in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Britain but candidates often cite the attractive salary package deal and conducive work environment in these countries as reasons for not making the move back to Malaysia.

The talent shortage could be overcome by bringing in professionals from countries such as from India, Philippines, Europe and Singapore and this is something which employers have been considering. Skills and experience required for roles in IT For software engineers, employers are looking for strong programming knowledge in a variety of languages. With enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and an influx of data centres and shared services centres, infrastructure engineer requirements are on the rise to support IT help desks and set up networks.

In IT sales roles, employers want candidates with both a sound technical knowledge and strong customer relations experience.

Skills required for software engineers:

  • .Net Technology (ASP.Net, VB.Net & C#)
  • Java & J2EE Technology (Java, J2EE, EJB, JMS, Java Beans)
  • C++ / C Technology / Software QA Tester (both manual and automation testing)
  • DBA (Oracle & MS-SQL DBA)
  • Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence Technology (ETL, Informatica, Cognos, Hyperion)
  • Mainframe Technology (IBM Mainframe, AS/400, Cobol)

ERP solutions: (Both support and implementation engineers)

  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • PeopleSoft
  • JD Edwards

Business development professionals are mostly likely to be employed by IT consulting companies in Malaysia. They are generally required to have some business development experience in software solution sales within the banking and insurance sectors, telecommunication and retail, among others.

As this is inherently a sales role, candidates should be customer focused, target-oriented professionals with marketing, pre-sales and relationship management experience, coupled with good overall IT knowledge and some technical background.

Project managers For project managers, it is critical that they have industry or sector experience in infrastructure, data centre management, telecommunication, banking and finance, insurance, retail and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG); backed by an in-depth knowledge of .Net, Java, SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft technologies.

Project managers should have a strong customer relationship focus and stakeholder management experience, as well as a good track record of meeting project deadlines.

Regional sales managers are usually employed by IT consulting firms in outsourcing, consulting or software solutions sales. Malaysian candidates at this level are rare and businesses have been tapping foreign talent to fill these positions.

Regardless of position, employers increasingly say they want evidence of the following soft skills in potential employees emotional intelligence, communication and interpersonal skills, team work and team management abilities. Businesses also emphasise that having the right attitude is often more important than technical skills.

Article by Jasmin Kaur, operations manager for Randstad Malaysia.