Gig Economy In Malaysia

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By creating new opportunities, increasing flexibility, and promoting decent work, the gig  economy is transforming Malaysia’s labor market. Freelancers or independent contractors  perform short-term jobs as part of the gig economy. The gig economy has seen an increase  in freelance jobs in Malaysia, such as ride-hailing, e-commerce delivery, and computer  programming.
These increased opportunities lead to workers now being able to work remotely from home  or other locations. This allows individuals with family responsibilities or other obligations to  schedule their work hours more flexibly. Individuals with a variety of skills can also find  employment opportunities in the gig economy. As a result, more people have access to  decent working conditions, including higher wages and more flexible working hours. In fact,  EMIR Research’s findings in 2020 showed that close to 26 per cent of Malaysia’s workforce  equivalent to four million freelancers out of a total workforce of 15.1 million work in the gig  economy.
This article examines how the gig economy is reshaping Malaysia’s labour market and how  it contributes to decent employment opportunities. 

The benefits of the gig economy in Malaysia 

Beyond its general benefits, the gig economy has several specific advantages for the  Malaysian context. 
In the first place, it has the potential to reduce income inequality. The gig economy is likely  to provide Malaysian workers with more regular and stable incomes over the long term. It  is especially true for women, who currently make up a small percentage of gig workers, but  who may grow as the industry matures. 
The gig economy can also increase productivity and reduce costs for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and freelancers in the country. For Malaysia to maintain its current  growth trajectory while avoiding the “middle-income trap,” greater productivity and  competitiveness are key factors. 
Malaysians have more opportunities to earn additional income through gig work as well.  When prices fluctuate or unexpected expenses arise, workers may find it helpful to diversify  their income sources. With the gig economy, our workforce has the opportunity to  supplement their income by working after work or on weekends without compromising their  primary employment. 

The challenges of the gig economy in Malaysia 

Although the gig economy has the potential to resolve many of Malaysia’s  underemployment problems, several challenges still remain.
In order to maximise the benefits of this program, the nation must first be informed and  educated about it. There are still many workers and employers who are unfamiliar with this  type of employment arrangement. However, the situation can and should be improved  through greater public awareness campaigns and efforts to inform both employers and  employees.
It is also necessary to improve the quality of data and statistics related to the gig economy.  Using this information, policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders will be able to  design policies and regulations that support workers and employers across the country.  There is no single source of accurate and detailed information regarding the number of gig  economy workers or employers at this time.
The gig economy should also be the subject of social dialogue between regulators,  policymakers, and employees. By engaging in a robust dialogue, different stakeholders will  have a better understanding of the gig economy, as well as their respective roles and  responsibilities within it. In addition, it will provide a platform for everyone to voice their  concerns and suggestions for improvements, ensuring that the gig economy benefits  everyone as much as possible. 

Policy Recommendations 

In Malaysia, policymakers can support the growth and development of the gig economy in  a number of ways.
They can begin by improving the regulatory framework for the gig economy. In order to  ensure a level playing field for all workers, regardless of the type of work they perform,  Malaysian labour law, regulations, and policies must be updated to reflect the new realities  of the Malaysian labour market. To achieve this goal, there should be social dialogues  regarding the gig economy in order to gain a shared understanding among stakeholders.  As a result of these engagements, future policy discussions will be based on the results of  these engagements, and regulatory frameworks will be informed by the results of these  engagements. 
In addition, local skills development centres may offer training on best practices for gig  workers who are new to the industry. In addition, this support can provide gig workers with  the opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals. 
Finally, policymakers can facilitate workshops and engagements to employers, particularly  SMEs, on the benefits and challenges of participating in the gig economy. From these policy  recommendations, both employers and workers may be able to benefit from the gig  economy in Malaysia. 


In a rapidly changing, tech-embracing world that is advancing into new frontiers (such as  the metaverse), companies are on a journey to stay competitive, stay relevant, and  continue to develop, or risk being left behind. 
We at FastCo realise this. Since our establishment in 2015, our team in Malaysia and  Singapore has been working non-stop to constantly bring innovations to our clients and  users, all in our mission of providing meaningful employment opportunities to the  community. In the context of work and the future, there is no doubt that the landscape will  constantly evolve. We believe that it is not enough to respond, we have to lead.  
The birth of FastJobs and, more recently, FastGig is a testament to this. As a result, FastCo  provides a social safety net for freelancers through FastGig. The company negotiates for  fair hourly rates, provides workers with workplace insurance, and advocates for a safe and  healthy working environment.  
That being said, we also want a changed outlook in terms of how people are looking at gig  work, especially for the MSS (manual, service industries, semi-skilled) labour force and B40  communities. It is our goal to help uplift their livelihood by helping them take ownership of  their work and instil a sense of pride in their job. Apart from that, FastCo will continue to  champion the benefits for our freelancers via FastGig to provide a safety net for our  freelancers, socially and financially. 
Our efforts have resulted in a significant percentage of our freelancer pool consisting of  women, as the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women. As a result, giggers  have no longer been hampered by the covid year gap on their CVs and can start working  without nerve-wracking interviews.  
FastJobs Malaysia recently received Gold for the Best New Recruitment Firm Award in the  2022 Vendor of the Year Award, as well as Bronze for the Best Recruitment Portal; a  testament to the work that we do and at the same time a sign that our mission is far from  over. We believe that we can go higher and touch more lives. 

About the author: Joelle Pang (pictured above) is the general manager of FastJobs Malaysia.This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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