Malaysia’s Hiring Decline Likely to Slow in 2017



(– Malaysia witnessed sluggish online recruitment across most of 2016, and this slow hiring intent is likely to roll over into 2017.

According to a round-up of online hiring insights from the Monster Employment Index (MEI) in Malaysia, 2016 closed off with a -5% year-on-year decline in December.

The monthly Monster Employment Index (MEI) is a gauge of online job posting activities, recording the industries and occupations showing the highest and lowest growth in recruitment activity. From these insights, Monster can provide some forecast for the future for online hiring activity in Malaysia.

2016 kicked off with -28% year-over-year decline in overall online hiring activity in January. Over the last 12 months, Malaysia continued to record consecutive decline in annual online hiring activity, seeing its steepest dip in February 2016, at -39% year-on-year. February was also a particularly slow month for the job market, where most sectors saw the steepest annual decline in hiring activity in that time.

In the following months, the pace of decline in e-recruitment fluctuated before finally slowing down in Q4. On average, the country witnessed an overall -15% decline in annual online hiring in 2016.

“Overall online recruitment has slowed down in Malaysia in recent months and this is likely to remain this way in the first half of 2017. Much of this is driven by external factors, such as the global economic uncertainties and the influence of the declining oil industry, as well as the weak ringgit values, which undoubtedly have an affect on the local labour market over time,” said Sanjay Modi, Managing Director of (APAC and Middle East).

“But 2017 isn’t all doom and gloom. The latest MEI figures in December and November have showed a slowdown in the pace of decline across the board, which indicates slight positive hiring sentiments. This is likely to be true in sectors such as Technology, where the government will be focusing more on this year, putting in place tech-friendly policies and measures to ensure sufficient opportunities in this space. Malaysian businesses are also expecting to increase salary, revenue, export and employment in 2017.”

Uncertainty ahead in Malaysia’s Marketing sector
In line with the rest of Malaysia’s key sectors, 2016 has also been a slow-paced one when it comes to online hiring in the Marketing sector. The year commenced with -20% year-on-year decline in online hiring activity, recording its steepest decline in February at -22% year-on-year, and ending with -6% year-on-year decline. On average, Malaysia saw -11% year-on-year decline in hiring in this sector.

Top Growth Industries


Lowest Growth Industries

Year-over-year Growth





% Growth


  Year-over-year Growth





% Growth


IT, Telecom/ISP and BPO/ITES 72 83 15%   Engineering, Construction and Real Estate 70 64 -9%
Production/Manufacturing, Automotive and Ancillary 82 86 5%   Retail 72 65 -10%
Advertising, Market Research, Public Relations, Media and Entertainment 78 73 -6%   BFSI 77 68 -12%
Logistic, Courier/ Freight/ Transportation, Shipping/ Marine 59 55 -7%   Hospitality 73 58 -21%


By Industry

  2015 2016
Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
IT, Telecom/ISP and BPO/ITES 72 59 49 76 78 80 76 72 90 71 70 80 83
Engineering, Construction and Real Estate 70 67 61 79 79 78 73 66 76 67 66 66 64
BFSI 77 73 63 97 94 91 84 71 84 71 70 72 68
Production/Manufacturing, Automotive and Ancillary 82 81 80 87 88 86 86 85 90 85 85 88 86
Oil and Gas 74 76 68 75 74 67 68 64 65 63 68 65 68
Hospitality 73 68 64 71 74 71 81 77 77 80 63 62 58
Retail 72 69 54 89 92 91 85 75 85 67 65 70 65
Logistic, Courier/ Freight/ Transportation, Shipping/ Marine 59 58 44 69 74 72 70 64 85 65 65 64 55
Advertising, Market Research, Public Relations, Media and Entertainment 78 73 61 78 80 77 77 72 80 71 71 73 73



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