WITH the looming possibility of mass retrenchment due to the credit crunch, much ink has been spilled over careers that are immune to the economic climate. But is any job truly 'recession-proof'?
No, says Kelly Services (Malaysia) vice-president and country general manager Melissa Norman.
'Apart from the medical profession, there aren't really any 'recession-proof' jobs. The business, and consequently employment, market will be challenging in 2009,' Norman notes.
Kelly Services, one of the top job recruitment agencies in Malaysia, lists some industries that will continue to grow over the coming year and what graduates should do to stay employable.
There is a continuing need for healthcare professionals, especially nurses and pharmacists. The rise of medical tourism in the country will serve to solidify the demand for personnel in this area. More companies are also providing healthcare benefits to their employees to promote talent retention.
Tertiary education is a relatively secure industry as people tend to ride out the recession by going to back to school to re-train themselves. In fact, this sector is seeing an influx of foreign students due to the availability of internationally recognised qualifications, at favourable rates.
'Malaysia's multi-cultural and multi-racial diversity has helped turn it into an education hub within Asia Pacific,' Norman observes.
Islamic banking and finance
Islamic banking is a booming industry that has not been affected by the credit crunch. As the principles of syariah law prohibit many of the activities that caused the crisis in the first place - such as speculation and the collection of interest - the sector is likely to remain stable.
Biotechnology and specialised information technology
'Malaysia has become an attractive profit centre in Asia for investment opportunities, due to its central location and developed infrastructure,' says Norman. Accordingly, she adds, demand for skilled talents in knowledge-based and technological industries will continue to grow.
Call centres and outsourcing
More global companies are adopting prudent management and cost-cutting measures by outsourcing certain services as it is cheaper to find skilled talent in Malaysia.
This is especially true in the area of risk management, as many companies now have a renewed focus on ensuring that their business ventures will grow, at minimal cost.
Norman points out that the job market is always competitive regardless of economic cycles, and students must build their resumes while still in school. 'In addition to good grades, they should be actively involved in extra-curricular activities and possess the necessary soft skills to be employable upon graduation.'
She adds that it is also important for fresh graduates not to be too selective about their first job and to have realistic expectations. 'Once you secure the job, work hard, show enthusiasm in your work, and display good work ethics. Take the initiative to enrol in part-time study or sign up for training courses that will add value to your job and the company.' -The Star