Governments around the world are implementing measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, including national lockdowns, quarantines and social restrictions.
These measures have forced businesses to temporarily cease operations during the lockdown periods, which subsequently puts pressure on consumer spending and increase in unemployment of local workers.
While curbing the pandemic is crucial, our Government also seeks to find a balance in restoring the country’s economy, as a prolonged movement control order brings estimate RM2.4bil in losses daily.
The risk of large-scale layoffs also looms as businesses face tight revenue and global supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic’s impact.
As of Aug 12, the Socso Employment Insurance System (EIS) received 71,805 unemployment benefit claims following the economic impact of Covid-19 since January this year.
Malaysia sees the flattening of the Covid-19 infection curve, following the MCO which came into force on March 18.
As the lockdowns are gradually lifted and the country focuses on recovery from the pandemic, the Government announced several economic stimulus packages.
The most recent was the RM35bil National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana), of which one of the components is to stimulate job creation and reduce unemployment of local workers.
Penjana allocates RM1.5bil for Hiring Incentive and Training Assistance (PenjanaKerjaya) to encourage job creation by employers and enhance employment opportunities for the local workers after most economic sectors are allowed to operate and businesses are back to normal.
PenjanaKerjaya encourages companies to hire local workers including unemployed workers, school leavers and graduates while at the same time, government has ban recruitment of foreign workers until end of the year.
Implemented by Socso, the incentive is a form of financial support up to a maximum period of six months for employers who hire unemployed job seekers starting June 5,2020.
Under the HireMalaysia category, an assistance of up to RM800 per employee is paid to employers who recruit unemployed people aged below 40 years and RM1,000 for hiring unemployed local workers aged 40 years and above, or persons with disabilities, provided that the employees are retained for at least 12 months.
Employers hiring apprentices from among Malaysian graduates or school leavers will receive RM600 per employee under the MYApprentice category, with an employment contract of a minimum six months offered to them.
The hiring incentive assures employers to continue with recruitment activities in this uncertain period.
The hiring process takes place on the MYFutureJobs portal, in which vacancies offered by employers are matched with suitable candidates.
MYFutureJobs portal service, which is designed based on the global OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) standards, is part of an overall framework of Socso as a national employment services provider.
The job portal matches requirements of local workers and employers, particularly skills and competencies that fully reflect the industries’ supply and demand.
Solutions provided by MYFutureJobs can assist the Government in bridging the gap between education and work that are often mismatched when preparing new entrants to the workforce.
Employers are therefore encouraged to list down the fundamental skills and competencies required for vacancies in their organisations to reflect actual industry demands in return for the right talents and industry-ready local workers.
The MYFutureJobs portal, announced by Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan as the national job portal under the Ministry, has a growing database of close to 230,000 jobseekers, including school leavers right up to experienced professionals.
The highest percentage of jobseekers on the system to date are diploma and degree holders. On average, the portal registers 2,500 job-seekers daily.
Meanwhile, 140,184 positions are currently available on the MYFutureJobs portal.
For newly hired employees who need additional skills in their new jobs can be sent for training under PenjanaKerjaya.
Employers can make their application for training on the PenjanaKerjaya website and employers may choose from the available courses endorsed by the Penjana course committee.
Once approved, training fees up to a maximum of RM4,000 will be covered by the programme.
Additionally, employees who must relocate more than 100km from their place of residence are eligible to receive mobility assistance.
So far, MyFutureJobs has received commendations from users.
InterManpower, accredited HR Training Provider, welcome such move as it helps employers and jobseekers in this difficult time.
This could increase the level of effectiveness of the program to help sustain the businesses and help to decrease unemployment rate in the country which is currently at 4.9% as of June 2020.
The portal is also user-friendly and easier for jobseekers to apply for a job in the portal. It helps employer to easy market their job vacancy with all information needed in the portal.
Citimas Services and Trading manager Hussaini Sahari was quoted as saying that MYFutureJobs relieves employers’ burden when it comes to the recruitment process and selecting suitable talents, and that the public is more convinced about using a job portal managed by an authorised body.
The Hills executive assistant cum human resources Diana Kong said the new job portal is user-friendly, efficient and ensures that employers select the right candidates to fill their vacancies.
Kong, who is satisfied with the service, said it took her only two days to run a full cycle of hiring process from shortlisting candidates to offering them jobs.
In thanking all participating employers, Socso’s head of the Employment Insurance System Datuk Mohd Sahar Darusman, said there has been a positive growth in the applications for the hiring incentive with 15,297 hiring done as at Aug 12,2020, within two months of its implementation.
“I would also like to remind employers to use the match resume function in the employer portal to obtain resumes that match your vacancy requirement, ” he added.
Mohd Sahar urges employers with the capacity to hire employees to use these incentives.
Employers with any vacancies ranging from highly skilled to low skilled positions are encouraged to use this platform to create employment opportunities in the job market, while making the most of the hiring incentives provided by the Government.
The emerging result can be an essential stabilising mechanism to reduce unemployment in the country.
Adapted from The Star, 16 Aug 2020