Malaysian SME recovering from manpower woes: index

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME) are showing positive signs of recovery, tackling the labour shortage caused by the “great resignation” due to the Covid-19 pandemic,’s SME Employment Index shows. co-founder and CEO Benjamin Croc (pix) said the index tracks health of employment and factors of SME in the aggregated data of 14,000 employees on its platform.

In the first quarter of 2022 (Q1), it found a 1.3% increase in salaries following the drop during the Covid-19 lockdowns, with a notable rise in salary budgets.

“While many other organisations continue to operate on limited budgets as they focus on navigating their way out of the Covid-19 problem and back to growth, forward-thinking SME are eager to overcome the manpower scarcity caused by the great resignation and the pandemic,” he said in a statement.

The index also indicated a more than 5% increase in employment numbers among SME just in Q1.

Croc commented that it is strong growth and an uplift on the more than 4% increase for Q4’21 or a 10% increase in employment numbers over the last six months from October 2021 to March 2022.

“This is a good sign, and it shows that the SME sector is aggressively recovering from the epidemic and taking the required steps to recruit and retain people.” pointed out the Malaysian economy has long relied on SME.

Over the last two years, it said, SME in the country and abroad have faced a lot of challenges. noted SME Association of Malaysia (Samenta) has reported that since the outbreak of the pandemic, at least 150,000 SME in the country have shut their doors, resulting in 1.2 million job losses.

“We would also like to commend the Malaysian government for swiftly addressing the country’s unemployment rates through the implementation of various schemes such as the JaminKerja Keluarga Malaysia,” said the CEO.

The initiative is divided into three major programmes – JaminKerja Employment Initiative, which aims to create 300,000 new job opportunities; the Malaysia Short-Term Employment Programme (MySTEP) that provides 80,000 job opportunities in the public sector, government-linked companies, and strategic partners; and HRD Corp’s Upskill Malaysia which provides job-seekers with practical skills training to improve their marketability and guarantees job placements.

Moving forward, Croc foresees that demand for skilled workers to remain at an all-time high as firms strive to attract and keep the best and most diverse talent as they embrace the post-pandemic period.

“With the better economic situation in many locations, employers must frequently examine their current employee value propositions and look into delivering complete benefits packages that will encourage individuals to work for them in order to retain and recruit these employees.”