A career insight into Shared Services and Outsourcing

Shared services and outsourcing (SSO) is a fast-growing industry in Malaysia, being part of the country’s Economic Transformation Plan under the Business Services sector.

In fact, global consulting firm AT Kearney has ranked Malaysia as the third preferred location for shared services consecutively since 2004, as seen in their Global Services Location Index.

Driving this industry forward is none other than Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), and heading the Shared Service and Outsourcing division is MDeC vice-president himself, Michael Warren.

Here, myStarjob.com sits down with Warren himself to get a better insight into shared services industry.

What is SSO?

"The Internet, in essence, has made the world a flat world,” explains Warren. “Back in the 90s when the Internet was first available, people started realising that it changes the way they work – that if they could move a part of their supply chain to run from another location, say India, they could keep their costs low and their products competitive.

“And thus the concept of moving common services into a common location to support multiple front end offices is what we call shared services. Outsourcing is when you take away something that you don’t feel is your core business, and you pass it to a third party to run for reasons related to efficiency and costs.

“That is essentially the difference between shared services and outsourcing,” says Warren.

Generally, SSO can be categorised into three segments which are:

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – Involves the contracting of the operations and responsibilities of specific business functions (or processes) to a service provider. BPO involves jobs that are more transactional-based, for example, call centres, payroll processing, or finance and accounting, etc.

Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) – refers to the use of service providers to effectively deliver IT-enabled business process, application service and infrastructure solutions for business outcomes.

Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) – refers to the outsourcing of core information-related business activities which are competitively important or form an integral part of a company's value chain. KPO requires advanced analytical and technical skills as well as a high degree of specialist expertise.

Think you've got what it takes for a career in SSO? Browse and apply for SSO jobs now!

Why SSO?

Malaysia is currently one of the fastest growing SSO destinations.

“SSO requires a very stable environment,” says Warren. “It requires a stable government that doesn’t change policies too often, good telecommunication, broadband and power environments, and is cost-competitive. It needs an environment that has transparency and ease in setting up business.” World Bank Doing Business 2015 report.

And thus, the SSO industry as an integral part of Malaysia’s transformation into a high-income, knowledge-based economy, under the business services section of Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Job Prospects

A few years back, MDeC launched the SSO as a Career of Choice campaign to position SSO as a career option to job seekers.

Today, there are over 200 multinational companies and 80 local companies in MSC Malaysia offering SSO solutions. By the year 2020, an estimated 70,000 new jobs will be available in the industry.

“We’re trying to get more companies to come here, so we create a lot more jobs,” says Warren. “At the same time, we’re trying to get more talent to join the industry”

According to Warren, typically, hires in the SSO field tend to be from a pool of more experienced applicants. That being said, about 10% of talents hired for the SSO industry are fresh graduates, while the other 90% is taken from experience hires.

If you’re wondering about the pay check, careers in the SSO industry can prove to be lucrative. While both BPO and ITO pays range from about RM4000 – RM5000, salaries for KPO – which requires more technical knowledge and expertise – averages at RM8000.

Competitive salaries aside, working in the SSO has many other benefits.

Firstly, as a growing sector, SSO careers offer world-class learning, development, and advancement opportunities – which are more often than not, offered with attractive remuneration packages. Secondly, some of the biggest SSO companies which have set up in Malaysia are world-renowned organisations such as Shell, DHL, HSBC, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Standard Chartered Bank, and IBM.

Perhaps one of the best perks of working in SSO is the exposure to a diverse and global network environment, as well as exciting global career prospects that include travelling and secondment to overseas business units.

Do you have what it takes to be in SSO?

The career paths that are available in the SSO sector in Malaysia today cover a broad range of industries which are:

Banking, financial services and insurance

Energy, chemicals and resources

Information and communication technology

Logistics and transportation

Pharmaceutical healthcare

Apart from that, Warren says that there are several key qualities and skills that one must have in order to flourish in the SSO field. These are:

Embracing diversity

Be motivated to keep learning new skills

Enjoy interacting globally and virtually

Be driven to keep improving the processes within the scope of work

Be adaptable and flexible

Think you’ve got what it takes to make SSO your career of choice? Then head over to mystarjob.com/sso, a job microsite collaboration between MDeC and myStarjob.com to view all current vacancies in the industry!

Apply for careers in SSO now!