Gloomy propects for job-seekers next year, say experts

Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid says employers are looking for people who can multitask. (Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd pic)

PETALING JAYA: A bank economist has predicted a “guarded” job market next year, with employers erring on the side of caution when it comes to hiring, while an employers organisation expects vacancies next year to be for low-level positions.

Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, chief economist of Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, said employers would be wary about taking in new staff and cautious about the kind of people they hire, in view of the challenging economic outlook for next year.

Afzanizam says employers fear their operating costs will go up.

“They won’t simply cut their labour force as they could lose out their competitive edge, but they will be very selective. Employers are now looking for those who can multitask,” he told FMT.

Afzanizam also said next year would be an employers market, with a focus on productivity.“They will have the luxury of picking the best candidate for the job.”

Afzanizam noted that in the third quarter of 2019, growth in wages was “tepid” and this trend would continue.

The Malaysian Employers Federation painted a bleak picture. Its executive director, Shamsuddin Bardan, said vacancies next year were expected to be for low-level positions.

New graduates would have difficulty in being employed as they would have to compete with graduates who have been jobless for the past 12 months.

While Malaysians continue to shun lower-end jobs, employers would be forced to depend on foreign workers.

He expects retrenchments, particularly of those in higher levels, to continue.

Financial institutions would continue the digitalisation process, which could result in “further reduction” in terms of manpower.