Today’s world is undeniable digitally. This positive digital transformation introduces multiple opportunities that are significantly being adopted in the government, private and business sectors. Malaysia has set a target in the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 in terms of economic growth area to be a sustainable nation with fair economic distribution as well as equitable and inclusive growth. This includes the digitization progress on new services, opportunities and solutions such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) that is now progressively being utilized in Malaysia.
Based on the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020, it has been noted that 85 million jobs of the workforce will be displaced as a result of technology integration. However, this robot revolution will open an opportunity of 97 million new jobs that require digital talents in helping the nation to grow and enabling the technology. With the advent of ubiquitous connectivity, new business models will emerge, requiring entirely new talents and skills. Nevertheless, Malaysia still faces challenges in this new business model as there is still a significant gap in terms of local digital talents.
Episode 30 of the Top In Tech series sought to gain insight on ways to tackle the obstacles to having adequate and sufficient digital talents which are skills gaps in the local labour market and inability to attract specialized talent. This episode was hosted by Karamjit Singh and guest panelists were Fabian Bigar, CEO, MyDigital, Matt van Leeuwen, Director, Sunway iLabs and Ambika Sangaran, COO, Mereka.
Identifying top talent in the organization
“It is better for organizations to conduct masterclasses such as a hackathon and design sprints, in order to spot top digital talent in your organization. These masterclasses help the staff to start understanding problems and challenges that they will be facing in the future. With this kind of activity, talents will be able to start giving out effective solutions and ideas to the organization regarding gaps in the digital market. From here, organizations will have full access in identifying the top potential of tech-savvy talents available in the company and recognize employees' accomplishments in the company, in helping the company to move forward accordingly with the new business model”, said Matt.
The root causes for talent inadequacy and insufficiency
“The root for talent inadequacy and insufficiency in the digital market today is created by a number of reasons. The lack of digital knowledge and training contributed to skills gaps that led the young talents in becoming uninterested, concurrently introducing a huge talent inadequacy and insufficiency in the market. However, the main reason that entirely affects this problem is the lack of professional development opportunities. Tech professionals will feel that there were insufficient opportunities for them to grow professionally and led them to leave their current role, simultaneously affecting the company's timeline of a project. Hence, these causes led to the major inadequacy and insufficiency for digital talent in the digital market” said Fabian.
Start early in building skills
Ambika explained that today’s economy is moving towards a skill-based economy rather than a paper-based economy. Youth nowadays, especially tertiary students, have keenly involved in doing digital work, such as digital entrepreneurship. This positive first step allows them to gain resourceful skills and strengthen their portfolio before entering work life. Strong portfolio that is equipped with multiple beneficial soft skills is capable in proving the youth readiness in tackling opportunities from future employers. Most importantly, students need to have a positive attitude into learning new digital skills and get comfortable with digital tools as there would be ubiquitous numbers of new digital software in the future.
Matt extended his opinion that the university and school has the role to build relevant talent for the digital job market. It is crucial to build and equip youngsters with useful skills and imply early digital education at school as children are now exposed to digital games and strengthening their digital sense. Hence, it is preferred that they inculcate critical skills as early as possible as these skills are beneficial in tertiary education and future work.
Gender equality in digital workfield
Fabian stated that there is no gender inequality when it comes to digital talents. In fact, in Malaysia, there have been a number of digitization initiatives that have benefited many women, empowering them to play a vital role in the development of the country.
“According to the Department of Statistics of Malaysia, the total female workforce in Malaysia has reached 55.1 percent or 6.21 million people, as of December 2019 and a total percentage of women talents involved in the technology field has reached 35 percent. Government initiatives such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) will benefit women greatly, in terms of digital competencies, leading the digital economy forward towards Malaysia 5.0. There are also non-profit organizations initiatives focusing on empowering women in the workfield, awaiting for the future competent digital talents to realize and seize the opportunities”, he added.
“Every public and private sector should have the effort in understanding the digital market, enhancing the digital talent in this country. Don't always rely on government digital initiatives to solve all the problems, everyone should have the effort to involve one another in finding the solutions that leads to the huge gap in digital talents in Malaysia”, concluded Matt.
“Digital talents give benefits to organizations on how they are able to outskirt digital talents through digital networks. Digital market allows women especially in the rural areas to gain knowledge regarding the economy and provide themselves a job by selling their handcrafted stuff online. Instead of pushing them to be a full time entrepreneur, the digital market introduces a meaningful employment meaning to women”, concluded Ambika.
“As an individual, it is our responsibility to enhance and improve our digital talents and skills. There are multiple digital courses out there that are available for an individual to join, seek knowledge and advance themselves in keeping up with the digital business model”, concluded Fabian.
Find out more about the discussion from the replay of Top In Tech Episode 30: Digital Talents - Reality Bites HERE.