PETALING JAYA - Employers are opting for contract staff and outsourcing work over hiring permanent employees.
MyStarJob Network Sdn Bhd head Serm Teck Choon said employment models had changed.
"More companies are hiring contract staff which saves them money. With more freelancers and small businesses around, companies need not hire permanent staff," he said, adding that despite the general downward trend, business development and sales personnel were still in high demand.
MyStarJob is a subsidiary of Star Publications (M) Bhd, which runs The Star's career portal myStarjob.com.
Human resource provider Reditus Management managing director Sherri Chuah said jobs were still available but because the market was slow, companies were more selective and even willing to hire temporary staff while waiting for the right candidates.
She said the year-end recruitment slowdown was the norm with less hiring activities taking place.
"People don't move because it's the holidays and bonus time.
"The supply chain and logistics industries are still okay, but IT and engineering have slowed down," she said.
According to some employees in Bayan Lepas, Penang, US-based MNCs have either frozen recruitment or had become more stringent in recruiting or hiring contract staff.
"My company is still hiring, but only experienced staff for senior positions - no fresh graduates," a manager said.
Another senior human resource personnel said her company had stopped hiring indefinitely due to the uncertain economy.
"Some MNCs are still recruiting, but only to fill existing vacancies and not for new positions. Departments wanting to hire must justify the requests to the top management, which wasn't the case previously," she said.
Kelly Services Malaysia, which provides workforce solutions, said almost half of the firms affected by the minimum wage policy planned to increase training to enhance labour efficiency while about 40 per cent were looking to expand automation to offset the increase in labour costs.
"The current sluggish market conditions and global uncertainties continue to push the job market towards hiring skilled talent, with companies focusing on human capital development and talent retention," said its managing director Melissa Norman.
"Employers are going through great lengths to put the right talents in the right positions and the talents themselves are more than willing to relocate for better jobs."