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Jobs 3 | Finding a Job in Malaysia! Why Difficult? (Kuala Lumpur)

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This question repeatedly crops up every few other weeks, and there has been much written about the difficulties for expats looking for opportunities through the various mediums, and opportunities readily open for expats. I have consolidated by responses in this thread:

Many expats do not realise the way the Malaysian Labour and Employment industry works, and therefore many of the facilities, infrastructure and agencies are geared to very specific requirements. Unlike in Europe, North America, South and Latin America, Middle East and probably rest of the world, Malaysia has not opened up its borders whole heartedly to expats (and to an extent foreign labour) to work here. To sum up, websites here do not cater to expats, because the vast majority businesses here are not catered to such a pool of talent, because they either have sufficient or acceptable pool of human resources.

However, you will see in the next 3 years, these trends changing. But keep in mind the following facts: Malaysia is the 14th largest trading nation and has been in the top 20 for many decades. It does not need expats just to get ahead. What you see on the ground is not a fair reflection of what you do not and is actually done. Malaysia's economic power houses are not based all in KL. Penang, Terengganu, Malacca, Johor, Perak are major hubs/states outside KL/Selangor.

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I find a couple of those comments sweepingly misleading: searching for a job is one thing, searching for an opportunity is another. Taking the efforts to find what is right for you may not necessarily lie within the boundaries of Malaysia. If you find something a waste of time, then its obvious that your requirements are or will not be met here. But with a working population of over 10 million professionals and another 2.8 million labourers/foreign workers, Malaysia is a mecca for those looking for a better paying life.

Furthermore, Malaysians do NOT accept half pay situations. Malaysians are typically not half wits either who do not understand the concept or value for the need of an income to support themselves or their families and their infrastructure. So it would be interesting for you to clarify which industry do Malaysians/Locals accept half pay of an expat. If you are referring to a situation where an Expat pay is usually twice of a local pay, then it is different. Logically it is understood that Expats from many countries abroad would not come to Malaysia if it was half or a third of their regular pay because of the exchange rate. They too are not half wits. The only reason for this such disparity is currency exchange. Nothing to do with a Malaysian's mindset to accept half a pay. Many Malaysians do go abroad and work and live there for 2x, 3x and sometimes more. Whoever stays back, they stay back for a very specific reason. Hence why there are many jobs here left vacant, and why Malaysian firms are lacking the local talent to fill those roles at local paying jobs. Understand, these are not the ills of failure, but the ills of success.

So the salary index makes no sense if it is not right sized to take into account purchase power parity. after the United States (except insurance) and Great Britain (except taxes), Malaysia is in the forefront of cost affordability in housing, transportation (not acquisition of car), education (not international schools), food, clothing (not branded of course), medical and insurance (and of course not everyone goes to Gleneagles/Pantai/Prince Court!).

Whether a company hires a local or an expat is the prerogative of the employer. They may have many other constraints. Having and being able to afford an expat in a Malaysian firm may not necessarily be suitable for an Expat. He/She may not fit in well. He/She may upset the balance that exist. He/She may not be in sync of the talent quality. Sometimes an Expat may not understand or be better than a local in certain areas of specialty: Corporate Governance, Relationship Management, and so on. Therefore, there is no rule of thumb, whatever immigration says. Business run they way they run. Business may opt to say, well there is no point paying a foreigner twice or three times a local pay and affect the profitability. Let's just get somebody with hands and fill those roles. Its a catch 22: pay more, and die quicker in cost, or pay nobody, die slower from loss opportunity or efficiency.

But understand too, that Malaysia is not the only country with such issues: Hong Kong, Singapore, China and India. If you haven't realised, China and India have more than a billion population each. And yes, i had 5 assignments over the last 2 years from Indian firms. They apparently cant find the right people too. Why are there so many Italians in Malaysia (look at Changkat) working as chefs? Aren't they working for half pay? Doubt they are half wits either.

My suggestion to you is if you cannot find an opportunity is to take an effort to connect with reputable recruiters (not headhunters) and see what opportunities they have for you, go out there with a real positive attitude and woo people. You might get some opportunities outside your comfort zone that bring great and new benefits. (Headhunters will not entertain you unless they have specific assignments). And job boards like jobstreet, jobsdb, monster are mere advertisements. They don't guarantee anything but digital form of interaction between employer and prospective employee (read their T&Cs). Keep in mind that the average vacancy in businesses/economy is about 30%. Therefore, there are 3 million jobs in Malaysia that are yet to be filled. If you cant find something, then its not here.

If there are others who require assistance in career opportunities, please feel free to drop me a line; my headhunting firm will share constructive thoughts and directly put you in touch with hiring authorities. Have a great weekend!
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Thank you for reading this, please do share your thoughts below.
If you have the time for more reading, try this:
Jobs 1 | Getting a Job, CVs, & First Impressions!
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Jobs 2 | Taking your Career to the Next Level!
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or even false notions and try to reply them as quickly as I can!
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