Here's why MDEC needs to prepare the country's workforce for automation and future technologies. Source: Shutterstock

Here’s why MDEC needs to prepare the country’s workforce for automation and future technologies. Source: Shutterstock

Can Malaysia’s MDEC help the economy prepare for the future of work?

AUTOMATION is changing the economy as we know in Southeast Asia and around the world, and governments need to ensure that businesses have access to the right talent to support that change.

Businesses in the region feel the need to step up their automation efforts to ‘future-proof’ their core businesses and unleash innovation to stay ahead of the competition.

Employing the right talent to complement automation is an important part of the equation — and in Malaysia, organizations are turning to the government for support with that piece of the puzzle.

MDEC, as a government agency tasked to grow Malaysia’s digital economy, has been working towards future-proofing Malaysia through its variety of initiatives and programmes.

“Our efforts range from preparing local youths for the future workplace by educating them to become digital makers, to assisting companies to adopt digital technology into their businesses,” MDEC VP of Talent and Digital Entrepreneurship Sumitra Nair told Tech Wire Asia ahead of the ConnecTechAsia2019 summit in Singapore.

“Our unique role has allowed us to understand that the marriage between technology automation and talent often leads to the flourishing of businesses, markets, and the economy.”

Preparing talent — professionals and graduates

One of the single largest markets facing the threat of automation right now is the existing workforce, and it is particularly concerning given that most of the companies they work in are trying to grow with the help of automation.

While there are ongoing efforts to future-proof the next generation workforce, there is also a need to ensure that the existing ones can adapt, continue to learn and grow. This can be done through reskilling and upskilling.

Experts in human resource management and training and development believe that businesses should be tasked with proving training to upskill and reskill workers for tomorrow’s jobs.

Doing so will not only ensure they have access to the staff they need to support their growth in the digital era but also provide them with a more experienced workforce that can quickly help the organization ascend through the digital maturity curve.

“I believe that every day is a day for learning something new: An essential sign that we are producing the right talent for a standout digital future in the world will be a mindset that includes adaptability and one that is tuned always to learning.”

As one of the results of a rapidly evolving digital age is that most of us will have different jobs through our lives, very few will remain in the job for which they were formally trained.

The government of Malaysia too is investing in the nation’s talent pipeline.

For example, and MDEC’s collaboration with the Education Ministry and industry to ensure our students are linked to the latest technology and soft – what is referred to as hybrid- skills (such as problem-solving, communication, and so on) needed in today’s job market.

Indeed, a set of such skills will make for a more adaptable workforce and help position the nation to grow into the opportunities in the digital era.

“For Malaysia, developing and nurturing talent is an imperative and essential building block of becoming a digital nation.”

With the government focused on developing talent for the future, businesses need to start doing their bit and training their workers for the future if they want to stay competitive in the global marketplace.