Jobs await in global business services

Many may be surprised to know that Malaysia is at the forefront of Global Business Services (GBS).

We are ranked third out of 55 countries by AT Kearney in their Global Services Location Index.

In a nutshell, GBS is centralising work from any global location to optimise cost and streamline processes. This could include outsourcing where companies appoint third-party service providers.

It can range from centralising simple functions such as data entry, IT coding and payroll processing to more complex ones such as legal services, IT, procurement requisition, payment processing, financial reporting, human resources and business and market research.

StarLIVE held a talk titled “Career Beyond Borders #GlobalBusinessServices” to talk about what the industry could offer in terms of career prospects.

It featured three speakers from the industry and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Global Business Services vice-president Hew Wee Choong as the moderator.

Hew said Malaysian talents were now in demand in both local and foreign GBS companies because of their versatility.

“There are more than 500 companies that have set up GBS here, creating 90,000 jobs,” he said, adding that being a multicultural society was a plus point.

Hew added that GBS was a great way for employees to be exposed to many business operations and different cultures.

Elaborating on career opportunities in the industry were Sime Darby Global Services Centre group head Victor Lam, Standard Chartered Global Business Services human resources head Deva Murugan Nallathamby and IBM Client Innovation Centre (CIC) Asia-Pacific services delivery leader Mohamad Helmi Harith.

Lam shared that the Global Services Centre has 510 employees and provides services such as human resource management, finance, procurement services and IT to hundreds of operating units in the Sime Darby Group.

“If you want to join the finance side for example, you would need to have an accounting or finance degree.

“But then, it is equally important to have the right attitude and to look for people with inquisitive minds, critical thinking and presentation skills,” he said.

Lam added that many may have the perception that joining the GBS industry means performing “backroom” functions.

“But that is not the case anymore. When managing and processing transactions, you’re doing work for many companies, not just locally and regionally but globally as well. So it is important to be able to communicate well,” he said, adding that an employee dealing with his counterpart in China would need to be able to speak and write in Chinese.

Lam added that they encourage employees to question the way things are done.

“If they find there is a better way to do things or that certain things are not working well, we want them to tell us. Not everything has to come from top down,” he said.

Mohamad Helmi said while paper qualifications were important, those looking to enter the industry need to be prepared with the right communication skills and improve their general knowledge.

“Local graduates can enhance their general knowledge by learning more about the jobs they apply for, the company they are applying to as well as new technology,” he said.

When hiring, Mohamad Helmi said they usually looked for those with passion, knowledge and the ability to present themselves clearly. “A strong command of English will be beneficial especially when working in a multinational firm,” he added

Mohamad Helmi said they serve about 100 customers from different countries and industries including financial institutions, airlines and retail.

“We provide end-to-end IT infrastructure support,” he said, adding that because of the global nature of the service, there are opportunities for employees to go to the client’s location for knowledge transfer.

“We can work virtually but face-to-face interaction with the client is still important. Meanwhile, Deva Murugan said they look for people who have the ability to think outside the box and have a willingness to learn.

“You can be in any industry but if you have the desire to learn and acquire new skills as well as knowledge, you are welcome to join us.

“Our technology chiefs are Malaysians from different backgrounds,” he said, adding they appreciate those who are willing to take up challenges in terms of technology and software. The two-hour long StarLIVE talk was held at Cybertorium in Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. For details on other StarLIVE sessions, visit events.thestar.com.my