Professional Development

Navigating the Malaysian Job Market: Practical Strategies for Professional Success in Challenging Economic Times

MALAYSIA’s recruitment market is expected to grow in 2023 despite a potential global recession, Strong economic fundamentals, a successful pandemic response, and China’s economic openness all contribute to this.

The Chairman of the Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal Rawther, echoed this view: “In 2023, Malaysia’s job market is expected to benefit from firm domestic demand, China’s reopening, the revival of construction projects, the expansion of primary sectors as global commodity prices rise, and modest external trade activities.”

Malaysia’s Statistics Department also reported that unemployment remained stable at 3.6% in November 2022. Labour force and employment both grew by +2.5% year on year and +3.2% year on year, respectively, supported by robust domestic economic growth.

As a result, we can expect to see stronger competition for quality talent as more employers digitise their businesses for efficiencies and competitiveness. Investing in training and developing junior talent and driving diversity and inclusion goals are among them. Additionally, employers will rely less on salaries to compete for talent. Rather, they’ll use culture-related strategies.

 Also, more jobs today are being filled on a contract basis. Therefore, jobseekers may not have the security of long-term employment and may have to work for short-term contracts. For jobseekers who seek stability and a steady income, this is especially challenging.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the various strategies jobseekers can use to maximise their chances of landing a successful job in Malaysia.

1. Develop Marketable Skills

Developing and honing marketable skills is one of the most effective strategies for jobseekers. Skills include both hard skills (technical skills) and soft skills (such as communication and time management). Research the skills that are valued in your desired field, both today and in the future. If you want to know what’s hot today, you can do a lot of research online, but you’ll want to talk to someone who is working in your field (ideally at a manager level or above) to get a sense of where your field is heading.

Online education courses, conferences, and webinars are all excellent resources for learning new skills or solidifying existing ones.

If you are just starting in your career, don’t neglect to freelance, including sourcing projects online where any projects you complete build your track record. Having a work portfolio and reviews from real clients helps to establish your professional online presence.

2. Network Effectively

Networking is a necessity in today’s world. Many studies demonstrate that professional networks lead to increased job opportunities, faster advancement, and increased status and authority. Enhancing the quality of work and job satisfaction can also be achieved by building and nurturing professional relationships.

You will begin to appreciate the activity much more if you concentrate on the positive aspects such as how it will enhance your knowledge and skills needed for your job. You can also make networking more palatable by considering how your interests and goals align with those of the people you meet.

You can get your name out there and your foot in the door when you approach networking as an opportunity to learn and discover!

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3. Utilising Job Search Resources

Technology hasn’t changed much about the job search in the last few decades. Developing your skills and networking has always been critical to finding the right job. With new technology, however, jobseekers have an infinitely greater potential to optimise their searches and find the perfect position.

Many of the best online tools such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Google are available today to help jobseekers find jobs and connect with potential employers. Since Google is often overlooked in job searches, I saved its mention for last.

In fact, Google Jobs is a super-functional job platform that allows you to search for jobs, save specific listings and searches, and even set up job alerts. Since Google Jobs aggregates listings from most other job platforms, it offers the best of both worlds.

Use these online tools not only for job searching but also to research potential employers before applying. By learning more about the company’s culture and values, you may be able to customise your resume and cover letter accordingly.

Discussion in Recruitment Agency

4. Keeping Your Social Media Clean

The first thing you need to know when entering the job market is how you appear on search engines. Hiring managers will probably check out your social media accounts, especially if you’ve been active on them. According to data, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. I’m sure you’ll agree that looking bad online can hurt your job prospects! recommends that you Google yourself every month so that you can keep track of your online presence, and if anything should appear that reflects you negatively, you can take immediate action. 

Keeping your social media profiles professional and appropriate is essential to getting a job (and keeping it once you’ve got one).


Navigating the Malaysian job market can be stressful and uncertain. Jobseekers need to set realistic expectations and stay motivated. Setting short-term goals and celebrating small successes can help. Additionally, jobseekers should reflect on their progress and re-evaluate their strategies if necessary.

When a job opportunity is secured, jobseekers should make the most of it. To ensure that they are a good match for the job, jobseekers should research the company and position. It is also important that they take steps to excel in their jobs. Learning new skills, networking, and building relationships could all be part of this process.

The right strategies and a positive attitude can help you succeed.

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The Time is Now: How to Embrace Equity by Redistributing Unpaid Care Work

The 8 March 2023 celebration of International Women’s Day offers a great opportunity to acknowledge and reward unpaid care workers for their contributions to families and society

International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 carries a clear message of #EmbraceEquity: a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination; a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive; and more importantly, a world where differences are valued and celebrated. Through our actions, conversations, behaviours, and mindsets at work and in society, we can all drive change and appreciate differences.

However, do you know?
  • In Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, women work an average of four hours and twenty minutes per day performing unpaid care and domestic duties.
  • Women and men experience unpaid work differently depending on factors such as household income, education, marital status, and having children.
  • According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), unpaid care and domestic work make up 9% of global GDP (USD 11 trillion), with women accounting for 6.6% and men for 2.4%.
  • APEC economies report a wide range of unpaid work values, ranging from 5.5% to 41.3%.

In Malaysia, women were already putting in more than 4,000 hours of unpaid care and domestic work even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. This distribution worsened due to the pandemic, which forced more people to stay at home and increase the demands on caregivers. 

Khazanah Research Institute, via a small sample study of 125 individuals found that women spend 1.4 hours more unpaid homemaking each day than men in Kuala Lumpur while the World Bank reported that in 2018, 60% of Malaysian women who did not join the labour force cited housework as their primary reason for not working.

We need to #EmbraceEquity by redistributing, rewarding, and recognising unpaid care work more than ever before.

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The Impact of Unpaid Care Work on Women and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals

Unpaid care work has long been a burden shouldered by women and gender-nonconforming individuals, and the effects of this work continue to be felt today. Unpaid care work encompasses a variety of tasks such as caring for children, elderly relatives, and household tasks. These tasks are often overlooked and undervalued, and the time spent on these tasks leads to a decrease in labour force participation and economic opportunities for those who are primarily responsible for them. This is especially true for women, who are more likely to take on these roles than men.

In addition to the economic effects, unpaid care work also has a psychological and emotional impact on those who are responsible for it. This work can be isolating, as it is often done in the home with little to no monetary recognition or moral support. It can also be emotionally draining and can lead to feelings of guilt and resentment. For those with limited resources, the burden of unpaid care work can be overwhelming, as they are unable to access the same supports and services that are available to those with greater privilege.

Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities

Women and men of poor families and minority races are particularly vulnerable to the burden of unpaid care work due to the intersection of economic limitations, racism and sexism. When there is a lack of subsidised care facilities nearby, they usually work shifts, sometimes leaving home early or returning late at night, with long commutes on public transportation or motorbikes. In these instances, the cost of leaving their children outweighs their basic wages.  

Middle-class and highly educated women also face the double burden syndrome of caring for children and the elderly, which leads many to quit their jobs.  

The lack of access to resources and the systemic discrimination they face in the labour market makes it more difficult for them to participate in the labour force and access the necessary support. This further widens the economic disparities between these groups and others.

Public Policy Solutions

Public policy can be effective in addressing unpaid care work. It can be piloted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the Economic Planning Unit, the Ministry of Human Resources, and other relevant government agencies to collect statistics on the care economy and use them to inform government policy. While there will always be flaws and inaccuracies in these statistics, they are necessary to understand the country’s care economy and to provide direct income support to its workers.

Initiatives such as paid family leave, subsidised childcare, and flexible work policies can reduce the burden on those who provide unpaid care. In addition to creating more equitable workplaces, these policies can also ensure that those who take on unpaid care responsibilities do not suffer in the process.

Additionally, the Government can provide resources and services to reduce unpaid care work such as providing access to childcare and elder care, as well as other supports to ease the burden on those who are responsible for unpaid care. It is also important for the Government to increase public awareness of unpaid care work and recognise its importance, as this can contribute to the creation of a more equitable society.

Employer Initiatives 

Employers should also be given incentives to advance initiatives addressing unpaid care work.

As an example, the hybrid work-from-home model, which was tested during the Covid-19 pandemic, should be maintained in the endemic period as well. By allowing flexible hours, employers take into account the reality that some young parents cannot afford childcare and that single parents may not have time to send their children to childcare centres. As a result, young mothers and fathers will be able to return to work without having to worry about childcare. Contrary to traditional perceptions, the flexible-hours model could increase work productivity.

Employers can also create more equitable workplaces by recognising and valuing the work of those responsible for unpaid care work. By offering incentives and rewards, providing recognition and support, and a culture of understanding and appreciation, it is possible to create an equitable work environment.

Individual Efforts

There are also steps individuals can take to address the issue of unpaid care work. There are ways to reduce caregivers’ burden, such as organising childcare or eldercare co-ops or asking family and friends for help.

Individuals too can support organisations that advocate for better public policies or provide resources and services to those who are responsible for unpaid care work. As part of this, you can speak out against discrimination and injustice, and create an atmosphere of appreciation and understanding. Thus, individuals can contribute to creating a more equitable and supportive environment.

Working Together for an Equitable Future

Women and gender-nonconforming individuals are disproportionately shouldering the burden of unpaid care work despite their increased participation in labour markets. While no single solution will be sufficient, a combination of public policy, employer initiatives, and individual efforts can result in meaningful progress. This is an issue that affects all of us, and we must work together to create an equitable future.

The time is now to #EmbraceEquity by supporting the development of an equitable, sustainable, and visible care economy for Malaysia.

Read all our past (and future) articles for free on our website here. We share new articles every Friday!