PETALING JAYA: Malaysian companies have been advised to review their employment terms to attract local talent back to the country.
Human resources consultant Srithren Krishnan said companies should re-evaluate the terms, perks, and benefits of the employment contracts offered to potential hires.
“One way to attract skilled workers is to pay them in US dollars. Malaysians working abroad may be reluctant to accept wages in ringgit as the currency continues to depreciate against the US dollar,” he told FMT Business.
Srithren said highly skilled Malaysians tend to seek their fortunes abroad because companies overseas offered salaries in stronger currencies, such as the US dollar.
The reluctance of highly skilled Malaysians to return home to serve the country is not lost on the government.
Last week, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would review all policies involving human resources and human capital in an effort to retain and attract skilled talents to the local job market.
He said the Economic Action Council admitted that apart from facing challenges in creating highly-skilled job opportunities, the country was facing competition from developed countries which offered higher wages to attract skilled talents.
Srithren, who is a consultant at human capital development firm K-Pintar, pointed out that a strong currency is only part of the reason that local talents moved abroad.
“There are several other factors. For instance, some highly skilled Malaysians have found that they have not been able to apply the expertise they have acquired overseas in this country,” he said.
“These workers are accustomed to using advanced technology abroad but when brought back to work in Malaysia, three quarters of their knowledge cannot be applied because the standards are lower.”
He said there was also a lack of opportunity for skilled workers to conduct research and development, and innovative work as many Malaysian companies acquired existing technology from developed countries instead.
Skill workers fear they will lose their expertise over time if their jobs do not require innovation and creativity. With an inability to apply their skills and no clear career progression, many of these workers who did return tend to leave the country within a couple of years, he said.
Srithren called on local industries to expand on research and development as well as adopt fourth industrial revolution practices in order to better utilise the expertise of highly skilled local talents.
He said local companies should also offer more attractive perks and benefits, such as an education allowance for workers to send their children to private international schools, to incentivise local talents to return.
Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive director Shaun Cheah said workers considered the quality of life, their children’s future, career progression and access to opportunities before accepting jobs.
He said companies would have to address all these factors in order to attract skilled local talent back to the country.