With technology developing at an accelerated pace in recent years, the digital world has always been upon us. Many organisations have begun adopting technology long before the COVID-19 crisis hit. As the pandemic forces organisations to speed up their adoption of technology, the key question is: Are Malaysians ready to face this new digital world?

According to PwC Malaysia’s survey on technology, jobs, and skills, 70% of 986 respondents said they believe that technology will change their current jobs in three to five years, while 82% believe they’ll feel the impact in 6-10 years.

The good news is - a majority of Malaysians (77%) are excited or optimistic about the role technology can play in their jobs. Among those who feel positive:

  • 35% are hopeful that technology would allow them to do more interesting work.
  • 27% are hopeful that technology would enable them to get more done.

That said, Malaysians are still concerned about job security. The report found that 78% of Malaysians believe automation brings more opportunities than risks, and 71% believe technological developments will improve their job prospects in the future. Yet, 34% are worried about automation putting jobs at risk.

As a result, 85% of Malaysians said they would learn new skills now or completely retrain in order to improve their future employability.

With a strong desire to be digitally savvy, 93% said they would accept the opportunity to better understand or use technology. About a third (38%) said they are given many opportunities by their current employer to improve their digital skills outside their normal duties, while 53% say they are given some.

Thankfully, when asked about who should be responsible for upskilling, 49% felt the onus is on individuals themselves. This suggests an inherent motivation among many Malaysians to learn and adapt to a world disrupted by technology.

While the pandemic has caused many uncertainties in the future of work, one thing is sure - remote working is here to stay long after the Movement Control Order (MCO) ends.

In line with that, the survey revealed that more effort needs to be made to fully enable employees to work remotely in the new normal.

Less than half of respondents (46%) said they were provided with all the necessary tools to be effective when working remotely. Similarly, 48% said they were prepared with some tools, but indicated they would have been more effective if provided with a few more key ones.

At the same time, only 41% said their organisational culture already supports and empowers employees to work outside the office should the need arise.

The report also shared five steps organisations can consider taking if they are looking to prepare their workforce for the digital world.

#1 Assess current and future business needs and identify skills gaps and mismatches

Assess the current and future environment and challenges. Identify the size and nature of an organisation’s skills gaps and mismatches, where to start, and what to prioritise.

#2 Build a future-proof skills strategy

Build strategic plans to deal with the skills gaps that have the most impact on helping the business fulfilled their organisational purpose, which will lead to the delivery of true value

#3 Lay the cultural foundation

Use culture as the bedrock of an organisation’s upskilling efforts. Create a cultural shift and the right behaviours. Inspire citizen-led innovation. Nurture physical vitality and mental wellbeing.

#4 Develop and implement upskilling immediately, and ensure it is a business priority

Create and deploy programmes that harness the organisation’s culture and use key behavioural economics principles to deliver the right learning experience and rapid results

#5 Evaluate return on investment

Measure the return on investment from upskilling programmes.

For example, in a well-planned upskilling initiative, financial growth follows from efforts to build talent and improve the external stakeholder experience. Assess those efforts across key metrics to help the initiative stay on track and measure ROI by looking at the trend after a few quarters of tracking results.

Key metrics can be split into three categories: 

  • People
    • Training effectiveness
    • Adoption
    • Core and digital skill building
    • Innovation
  • External stakeholders
    • Customer experience
    • Digital brand
    • Trust
  • Financial
    • Profitability
    • Cost savings
    • Productivity
    • Return on investment in terms of technology and tools, and the upskilling programme

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