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How to Hire the Best Talent from Malaysia


Malaysia is a nation enriched with a diverse ecosystem and a rich cultural heritage. From bustling modern cities to serene tropical rainforests, Malaysia offers a plethora of experiences along with vast untapped potential. With a population exceeding 33 million, Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, predominantly comprising Malays, with significant Chinese and Indian communities. This cultural amalgamation has given birth to a variety of traditions and celebrations, such as the vibrant Hindu festival of Thaipusam, Chinese New Year festivities, and the Muslim celebration of Eid.

The diversity and vibrancy of Malaysia have made it a hub of innovation, fostering a pool of highly skilled professionals. The widespread use and teaching of English in the country further enhance Malaysia’s reputation on the global stage. The typical workweek in Malaysia runs from Monday to Friday, with the weekend on Saturday and Sunday. However, in states like Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, the weekend is observed on Friday and Saturday, with the workweek commencing on Sunday.

Business Advantages in Malaysia

Malaysia’s economy benefits from its diversified industrial sectors, with manufacturing and production playing significant roles in the GDP. The professional fields in Malaysia encompass a wide range, particularly in specialty chemicals to meet the demands of the electrical and electronics industries. These talents are easily accessible through competitive global employment platforms, ensuring the best prices for recruitment in Malaysia and elsewhere.

High-growth industries such as agriculture and infrastructure have been identified as key economic sectors by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority. Major corporations like the national energy company, Sime Darby Group, and Petronas Chemicals Group have made substantial contributions to the nation’s revenue and talent pool.

Considerations for Employers

When recruiting in Malaysia, it’s crucial to offer attractive compensation packages. Providing appropriate employee benefits can enhance retention rates, job satisfaction, and attract top Malaysian talents.

Characteristics of the Malaysian Labor Market

Strengthened Labor Market: Supported by positive economic momentum, Malaysia’s labor market is expected to strengthen further and return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
Diversity and Skills: Malaysia boasts a diverse, well-educated, multilingual, and trainable workforce, which forms the backbone of its economic growth. The country is home to 20 public universities and over 80 private universities, along with more than 1,400 technical and vocational education and training institutions, continuously supplying a stream of skilled graduates to various industries.
English Proficiency: Many Malaysians have a high level of English proficiency, achieving a “High” rating in the EF Education First’s 2023 English Proficiency Index, ranking 25th globally and third among 23 Asian countries.

Communicating with Malaysian Talent

Clear Communication: Clearly convey work expectations, company culture, and objectives to ensure consistency. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help maintain alignment.
Leveraging Technology: Utilize technology to facilitate collaboration and communication. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Trello can aid in effective project management.
Integration: Make efforts to integrate remote employees into the company culture. Virtual team-building activities or occasional face-to-face meetings, if possible, can foster a sense of belonging.
Legal Compliance: Ensure all employment contracts and practices comply with Malaysian labor laws, even when recruiting remotely.

Malaysian Culture and Lifestyle

Malaysia’s rich cultural and lifestyle tapestry, ranging from sports to traditional arts, offers excellent topics for building rapport with Malaysian colleagues or candidates. Learning some basic Malaysian terms for greetings, farewells, and work-related phrases can go a long way in establishing good working relationships.

Interesting Facts about Malaysia

Rich History: Malaysia’s history spans thousands of years, boasting a wealth of cultural heritage.
Badminton: Thanks to professional players like Datuk Lee Chong Wei, badminton is among Malaysia’s most popular sports.
Cuisine: Malaysia is renowned for its diverse street food, especially Nasi Lemak, considered one of the national dishes, consisting of rice cooked in coconut milk, served with spicy sambal, fried crispy anchovies, peanuts, and boiled egg.

Additional Information

Employer Contributions: Employers are required to contribute between 19.2% to 22.7%, varying with the employee’s age and citizenship status.
Employee Benefits: Include health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement and pension plans.
Visa Requirements: Obtaining a work visa in Malaysia involves securing a Malaysian Employment Pass, with three types available depending on the duration of stay in the country.
In summary, Malaysia is not just a country rich in culture and diversity but also a promising employment market. Understanding and respecting local cultures, laws, and social norms can help you successfully hire the best talent from Malaysia.

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