Looking at careers beyond borders

Talk to offer insight into Malaysia’s global business services industry

As Malaysia becomes more advanced, there are more career opportunities opening up than ever before.

And one rapidly expanding industry is “global business services” (GBS). According to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Global Business Services vice-president Hew Wee Choong, many Malaysians lack the awareness that Malaysia is at the fore-front of the GBS industry word-wide.

Malaysia is ranked third out of 55 countries by AT Kearney in their Global Services Location Index and has consistently held that position since the inception of the report in 2004.

This is why Hew hopes to open the eyes of more Malaysians to the career opportunities that await them in this industry with the upcoming StarLIVE talk titled “Career Beyond Borders #GlobalBusinessServices”.

He will be moderating the session which features three other speakers: 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 Asia Pacific services delivery leader Mohamad Helmi Harith. Hew said that a common misconception in Malaysia about GBS is that it is similar to activities such as call centres, but the reality is that the industry has greatly evolved out of shared services.

Rather than centralising just simple functions such as data entry, IT coding and payroll processing, GBS applies the same concept of centralisation to more complex functions and end-to-end processing.

It can cover functions such as IT, procurement requisition, payment processing, financial reporting, human resources, to even legal services and marketing analytics.

“GBS is about delivering and managing these services for multinational companies all from a single location.

“There are tremendous opportunities for Malaysians in this field.

“The industry has grown by leaps and bounds in Malaysia with around 500 companies operating in Malaysia today, creating 90,000 jobs,” said Hew.

He said that Malaysia’s central location in the Asia-Pacific, good infrastructure and livability are among the factors that have made the country an attractive location for multinational companies to set up their GBS operations here.

“Talent availability is also another factor – our multicultural people with multilingual capabilities add on to the attractiveness of Malaysia as a preferred location to set up GBS operations,” said Hew.

He added that the industry is quite versatile and attracted talent from various backgrounds, from finance and accounting to IT, HR, and even engineering.

Many types of industries from finance and banking to IT, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), trading companies and outsourcing companies utilise GBS, stimulating large industry growth and creating numerous opportunities locally.

“There is a high demand for people in this field right now.

“The industry has been growing around 10% to 15% every year so the requirement for talent is always there,” said Hew.

According to him, the future of GBS in Malaysia looks bright as solid foundations have allowed the industry to create excellent opportunities in a nation that is becoming increasingly service-centric.

He added that as companies in Malaysia move towards higher-value activities, their GBS operations will move towards big data analytics, allowing companies to make strategic business decisions.

In helping the GBS industry to grow in Malaysia, MDEC’s role is to study the ecosystem required for GBS, especially in regards to talent development through industry-academia collaborations.

“This talk will be an opportunity to tell Malaysians that GBS is a thriving industry with possible career opportunities that go beyond borders,” said Hew. “The misconception about shared services is that it is just a job; a stepping stone for them to get another better job.

“But it is not true as GBS itself is an industry now.”

The StarLIVE session will be held on Dec 17 from 10.30am to noon at Menara Star, No. 15, Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya. StarLIVE is a free event organised by The Star. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.