M’sians With Fluent Mandarin In Higher Demand In Job Market Than Degree Holders

This stems from Malaysia's ties with countries like China, where bilingual skills streamline business transactions.
The way employers choose their workers is changing. In the past, they mostly cared about degrees. But now, they’re looking at other things too.

Formal education is becoming less important

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According to the Hiring Compensation and Benefits Report 2024 by Jobstreet, more companies are focusing on training and self-learning. Sixty-three percent of the companies they asked already have these programs.

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Vic Sithasanan, who runs Jobstreet in Malaysia, says that although some employers still care about formal education, it’s becoming less important. Companies are giving more importance to training their employees to do well in their jobs.

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Rise in demand for Mandarin proficiency

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Moreover, More and more companies are looking for people who can speak Mandarin. Sithasanan says that job ads for higher-level positions often mention needing Mandarin skills, NST reported.

“While English is the main language for communicating in the global marketplace, this varies when the role involves working with stakeholders who sit across different markets. For example, with a large influx of foreign direct investments in Malaysia, there has been a growing demand for Mandarin-literate talents,” he said.

This demand stems from Malaysia’s economic ties with countries like China, where bilingual proficiency facilitates smoother business transactions.

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Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman, who leads the Malaysian Employers Federation, agrees with this idea. He says that now, employers look at a bunch of things when they’re picking people for jobs.

Skills you can use right away

They check out things like education, skills you can use in real life, and the experience you’ve got. This change fits with Malaysia being a big deal in the world, where speaking more than one language is super helpful.

“Malaysia is an international hub for multinational companies and many industries are seeking (job) candidates with proficiency in languages like Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Arabic due to their expanding presence in the Malaysian job market. Companies dealing with international clients or with branches abroad often seek multilingual employees,” he said.

Even though knowing Mandarin is becoming more important, Syed Hussain says that being good at English is still really valuable to employers.

But he also points out that companies are starting to see how important it is to have people with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications. These are skills you can use right away in the workforce. It shows that industries are changing, and there’s more than one way to get ready for a job.

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