Shortage of talent for Malaysia's digital banking push: Hays

The Kuala Lumpur city skyline.
The Kuala Lumpur city skyline.
MAY 29, 2019 - 5:25 PM

MALAYSIA is facing a talent crunch to support the rapid digitalisation of its banking and financial services, according to recruitment firm Hays.

Many financial products and services have been introduced in the last few years, affecting everything from product development to contact centres and compliance departments, said Hays Malaysia senior manager for banking and financial services Natasha Ishak.

Particularly in demand are network systems project specialists; infrastructure applications experts; UI (user interface) and analytics specialists; and skills in big data analytics.

Worsening this talent shortage is the rise of virtual banking. Licensing guidelines for virtual-bank operations are expected to be issued by the end of 2019, or as soon as regulations are finalised. E-wallet adoption is also rising, although from a low base. About a fifth of all payments in the country are cashless, with half of those involving e-wallets.

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"To address talent shortages, hiring managers have therefore been more open to recruiting candidates who do not necessarily have the full set of skills required for the position," said Ms Natasha.

Greater regulation from Bank Negara Malaysia has also driven hiring of regulatory compliance professionals and roles focused on financial crime protection such as anti-money laundering and investigations, at all levels. While there is a steady supply of risk and compliance hires, it is much harder to find financial crime personnel, said Hays.

The last 12 months have also seen greater demand for front office roles, with particular need for relationship managers and branch managers with wealth experience, as well as private bankers.