Nation sorely lacks engineering talent
KUCHING: Malaysia sorely lacks skilled manpower in certain sectors, a snag that must be quickly addressed and overcome in order to keep up with the local demand. The current boom is within the engineering spectrum which includes manufacturing, property, construction and healthcare sectors.
According to Kelly Engineering Services consulting manager Nor Azizah (pix, top), the accelerating growth in these sectors has spurred the demand for skilled manpower that is technical in nature.
“There has been a continuous rise in need for project managers, process engineers and operations technicians. Most of the time we have been able to fill the positions that our clients have requested across industries and specialisations in Malaysia.
“However, there are challenges sourcing skilled manpower talent for certain specialised industries that include Mass Rapid Transit, railway, marine services, certain upstream oil and gas operations and IT specific areas such as firmware engineers where talent is scarce in Malaysia,” she pointed out.
According to her, companies were struggling in their search for firmware engineers and the recent growth in the chemical sector which was witnessing the emergence of new plants have paved the way for demand in project management personnel.
On sufficiency of training centres in the country, she pointed out that it was not much of an issue. What remained an issue was underutilisation of the centres and lack of quality of training provided by the existing centres.
“For example, the quality of process engineers of a certain local university is preferred to the rest while there are insufficient universities in Malaysia offering related engineering courses to churn out firmware engineers.
Elaborating on the shift in demand in recruitment, she said “In current times, clients prefer a candidate with experience related to the job and a multitude of strengths to enable effective multi-tasking.
“In other words, a client’s expectation of a potential employee is high, they require engineers who are not only detail oriented but with superior people skills. Unfortunately too there remain a small percentage of clients that still have preference in terms of age, gender and race.”
While candidates needed to be open to ideas from the beginning and take a hands-on approach to tasks, adapt and persevere, employers needed to offer attractive and competitive remuneration packages to local candidates.
“As a recruiter, a leader and a mother, I would invest in gen profiling fingerprint or IQ to better map our future leaders and set a good foundation from the beginning to build a greater workforce in the future,” she said.