A talent shortage in mid-level and senior positions is the greatest challenge facing Malaysia’s digital economy. Skills in cybersecurity, agile and scrum, and big data and artificial intelligence are in the most demand from this offshoring location.
Talent Pool & Education
Microsoft is working with public and private sectors as part of its Bersama Malaysia pledge to bring digital skills to one million Malaysians by the end of 2023, with the goal of developing “cloud-ready talent.” Also upskilling the sector is Technology Park Malaysia, a 700-acre science park based in Kuala Lumpur that’s home to more than 150 technology companies and includes an Innovation Incubation Center to support “technopreneurs” in the renewable energy, information and communications technology, biotech and engineering industries.
The official language is Malay, but English is taught in schools and fluency levels are high. Roughly 80% of urban businesses in Malaysia conduct their transactions in English.
Malaysia's economy returned to growth in the fourth quarter last year and the recovery is expected to accelerate in 2022, in line with improved global and domestic demand. The government has vowed not to reimpose lockdowns, and mandatory quarantine will no longer be required for inbound travelers. Latest figures show the digital economy registering double-digit growth, contributing 22.6% to GDP.
A series of power swings saw Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet resign in August 2021 after less than 18 months in office. Under the new leadership of Ismail Sabri Yaakob, of the historically dominant United Malays National Organization (UMNO), ties with China are expected to strengthen further, with Malaysia’s foreign ministry exploring new areas of cooperation encompassing cybersecurity, digital technology and vaccine research.