Pandemic Proven Skills

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 2: While several industries in Malaysia were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures undertaken by the Government to mitigate the outbreak companies that thrived during the pandemic found ways to overcome the challenges and to continue with their hiring plans during these extraordinary times.
A recent survey conducted by homegrown talent solutions provider, Aisling Group, and Leaderonomics found that companies in Malaysia utilised digital tools such as video interviews that were in tandem with panel interviews, technical testing, psychometric testing and presentations to continue with their hiring during the pandemic.
Most of the companies surveyed also bucked expectations that hiring would reduce or be put on hold due to the pandemic.
Over 95 per cent of respondents employed new hires in 2020 with 50 per cent of whom made 25 or more new hires last year.

This could be attributed to the types of main industries they were from the banking and financial services, manufacturing, outsourcing and software development, which were all classified as providing essential services during the pandemic hence were less affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO) as compared to others.
These findings and more, are collated in a whitepaper called Companies Thriving During the  Pandemic: Most in-demand talent and skills during an unprecedented time,’ which was  released by Aisling Group and Leaderonomics recently.
“The pandemic had drastically changed the way that we live, work and play and people had to adjust quickly to stay relevant and keep afloat.
While lockdown measures had affected many adversely, there were businesses in industries considered essential, which were mostly able to continue operations, albeit with some adjustments.
“This survey set out to gain insights into the hiring and the upskilling and reskilling practices of these businesses that thrived during the pandemic,” Melissa Norman, Aisling Group  Founder and Managing Director said.

The survey also found most respondents cited Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources (HR) being talent roles and skills that were considered crucial during the pandemic, with most also looking to fill roles in IT, Technology and Digital during this period.
Aside from investing in boosting employees’ IT, tech and digital skills through upskilling and reskilling, employers were also providing training for their employees to enhance their soft skills, another  trait considered essential during the pandemic.

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The same survey also found that ‘boundary management’ is one of the skills that companies considered crucial during the pandemic, a trend that may have arisen from companies having  to deal with extended work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.
“It was interesting to see some of the hiring and learning and development  (L&D) trends among companies that did well during the pandemic, in the Malaysian context. 
It would be good to see if these trends, such as the adoption of technology in hiring practices,  continue beyond the pandemic, as the economy opens up again,” said Norman.
The survey involved 61 selected respondents in the HR space, working in various organisations from Information Technology (IT), Manufacturing and Electronics (M&E) and Banking & Financial Services (BFS), among others. 

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