PETALING JAYA - Jobseekers can expect tougher times ahead with fewer businesses, skill-based or otherwise, opening their doors to new staff this year, according to employer groups.
"We don't expect much staff movement in this period. Most companies will make do with what they have now.
"Those who are hiring are generally only filling holes in critical positions," said Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan when commenting on the state of the job market this year.
"We have the slowing down of the economy and apart from a lower level of consumer confidence, we also have the devaluation of the ringgit.
"Under such circumstances many sectors are facing difficulties. The employers don't see a point in expanding right now. I would say hiring would be one of the last things considered by a company," he said.
Shamsuddin advised new jobseekers to make do with whatever offers that come their way, especially new entrants to the workforce.
"Don't talk about the gaji (salary) for the time being. It can always be relooked when the economy picks up," he said.
According to the Statistics Department, the unemployment rate in Malaysia as of October last year was 3.1%. This figure has not seen a drastic drop or increase in the last five years.
The lowest during that span was 2.9%, recorded in 2014.
But Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam disagreed with the figures.
"I still believe the situation is slowly worsening. From what we hear from the public, most places are already downsizing," he said.
His advice for current jobseekers is to "grab whatever is available while waiting for the right job".