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Home to the iconic 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers and the 421-metre-high KL Tower, the dazzling skyline of Kuala Lumpur — often referred to as KL — will be sure to leave an impression. It has the largest population of any Malaysian city and it is the country's business centre. As a result, there are many career prospects for highly qualified expatriates, in spite of immigration restrictions. It is a competitive and intense working environment, but if you like the bustle of a big city and can keep up with the pace, then working in KL might be for you.

Part of Kuala Lumpur's appeal is also that it is a fantastic base from which to explore other countries in Asia and other destinations in Malaysia itself. Well linked by air, road and train, it's a great hub for those who need to travel for business and those who wish to explore the region at their leisure, so if you are hoping to work in Malaysia you may want to find a job in Kuala Lumpur.

Local economy and employment opportunities

The oil and gas industry may have taken a significant knock in Malaysia, with many cutbacks, but the country's economy continues to thrive regardless. Consistent economic growth was recorded at 4.2% in 2016, and is expected to hover between 4.3 and 4.8% in 2017. Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak believes that this positive growth has been buoyed by healthy domestic demand and robust private sector investment. This is particularly pertinent to the labour market in Kuala Lumpur, which is the economic heart of the nation.

The stock exchange is based in Kuala Lumpur and is known as Bursa Malaysia. This makes Kuala Lumpur an economic hub for expatriates in the financial services and banking industry.

The service sector also stands out in Kuala Lumpur, with a vatiety of dining and retail options. And, as a result of its multiethnic culture, pristine beaches and lush rainforests as well as its proximity to Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia tourism is thriving in all of the country. Thanks to its famous landmarks, Kuala Lumpur is no exception. Over the past decade, the government has stepped up its efforts to attract tourists to Malaysia, and many tourists fly in and out of Kuala Lumpur as it is the main travel hub in the country. Foreign participation is particularly valuable in the tourism sector thanks to a foreigner's understanding of different cultures and languages. The more international experience you have had, the more this will work in your favour, although you will also almost always be expected to be fluent in English too.

Working conditions in Kuala Lumpur

Like many other big cities across the world, Kuala Lumpur never sleeps. It may look like a lot of glitz and glam, but this modern living also comes with a lot of hard work. Although labour regulations set a maximum 48-hour working week, in KL you can expect to work long hours and have a relatively long commute. There is a lot of traffic in the city, so many people prefer to leave their place of work at around 8pm to avoid the congestion. Expats can expect a fast-paced lifestyle in the quest to achieve high targets and financial goals for your company and yourself. But with hard work comes high reward because you'll be living in one of the most energetic, cosmopolitan cities in Asia.

Finding a job in Kuala Lumpur

As a general rule, foreigners tend to be hired remotely, and job websites are a good starting point if you're looking for an opportunity in Kuala Lumpur. If you work for an international company, it may well be the case that there is a branch in Kuala Lumpur to which you can transfer. If not, it's also worth doing research about which companies do have a base there, and to keep an eye out on their websites for vacancies.

If you're already based in Kuala Lumpur, then contact your relevant Chambers of Commerce or business council, and attend any networking events that are held. Here is a list of Chambers of Commerce, business and trade associations in Kuala Lumpur that provide networking opportunities.

Professional online networks will also be of value, as they provide information regarding career seminars and job fairs, as well as allowing you to get in touch with employers and vice-versa. It is also worth signing up to a recruitment agency, as they will have all the necessary contacts and leads to find you a suitable position.

  Useful links:

Malaysia government
Job Street
Joint Chambers of Commerce, Trade and Business Councils

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