The labour market in Kuala Lumpur
Updated 10 months ago

Because of recent changes in the socio-political landscape and the global economy, the labour market in Malaysia has seen quite a few changes.  As with anywhere else, the specialisations that are in demand are constantly evolving, with a few exceptions. While there are ample career opportunities in Kuala Lumpur, it is a competitive city where ambition and the willingness to put in extra hours are the currency to any successful career.

The most promising fields in Kuala Lumpur

Specialised medical practitioners are constantly required to keep Kuala Lumpur's healthcare system running. While the city has plenty of GPs, specialist medicine tends to be underserved. Private hospitals and medical institutions, catering to the expat population often hire foreign physicians with reputable qualifications.

There is a steady demand for engineers in Malaysia and KL. With the fast pace of urbanisation, civil and structural engineers are highly in demand to keep public and private infrastructure in line with the latest technology. Mechanical engineers are also in demand as are petroleum engineers. The petroleum industry suffered major setbacks with the tumbling price of fuel, but interest in the industry has resumed with the slowly recovering barrel prices. Any re-expansion of petroleum-related activities will entail a demand for qualified professionals.

Language expertise is a huge asset in KL. There are multiple international schools, private colleges, and universities always on the lookout for additional language teachers. There is a high demand for European languages and tutors - especially native speakers- are bound to find potential students.

The booming tertiary education industry in Malaysia and in the city means that universities and colleges are expanding their research and teaching departments on a regular basis. Many foreigners are employed through branch campus transfers or through direct recruitment.

The tech industry in KL is one very promising avenue for anyone to get involved in. Companies want to keep up with new technology and are hiring software developers and other tech experts to bring them up to speed. These careers can be based more on experience and skill set rather than professional qualification.

The business sector in KL tends to be very competitive and there are many highly qualified graduates competing for the same position. On the other hand, companies are hiring communications experts as well as designers who can bring their creativity to the table.

How to be the ideal candidate in Kuala Lumpur

In KL, academic qualifications are only as valuable as the skills and experience of a candidate. Many employers look for language expertise (local and foreign) as well as an indication of the capabilities of a potential employee. It pays to be bold and creative in this labour market. Companies value people who can have a multi-sectoral approach and commit to staying for at least two to three years or more. Starting salaries may not be as attractive as in your home country but you can expect steady increments and promotions based on your performance.

There are many opportunities to obtain a job in KL if you make use of the numerous resources available to foreigners looking to relocate to the city.

Useful link:

Oil and gas in 2019, New Straits Times

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