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Reskilling and Transformational Learning: The New Imperative for the Malaysian Workforce

Wed, 4 Oct 2023

Reskilling and Transformational Learning: The New Imperative for the Malaysian Workforce

Reskilling and Transformational Learning: The New Imperative for the Malaysian Workforce

Are you worried about the future of your career? Are you wondering if your skills will become obsolete in the rapidly changing job market?

Traditional skills and knowledge can quickly become obsolete in today's rapidly changing world.

With the rise of automation and digitalisation, traditional job roles are being disrupted, leaving many workers needing reskilling and transformational learning opportunities.

That's why reskilling, or learning new skills to adapt to changing job requirements, is crucial for individuals to stay relevant in the workforce.

Transformational learning goes a step further, encouraging individuals to develop new ways of thinking and approaching problems. But what exactly does this mean for the future of work in Malaysia?

Read on as we will explore the importance of reskilling and transformational learning in the Malaysian workforce in this article. We will discuss the challenges workers face in adapting to technological advancements and delve into the various initiatives and programs available to support reskilling efforts.

The Current Workforce Landscape in Malaysia

The present landscape of the Malaysian workforce faces a series of challenges exacerbated by globalisation and digitalisation.

The job market has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, labour shortages, and the complexities of the global supply chain. The contribution of manufacturing employment to the economy has seen a decline, falling to 14.5% last year.

This, coupled with a potential loss of jobs for 60,000 workers this year, particularly in the manufacturing and construction sectors, paints a gloomy picture of Malaysia's current job market scenario.

Moreover, brain drain - the migration of skilled workers seeking better opportunities abroad due to social injustice and low salaries - is another critical issue that could hinder Malaysia's long-term economic growth.

The government is exploring new strategies to attract and retain talent to mitigate these challenges and close the existing skills gap. These include allowing employers to hire foreign workers directly to reduce recruitment costs.

The country is also focusing on 'Reskilling and Transformational Learning' as a new imperative for the Malaysian workforce. This involves employers concentrating on reskilling and upskilling existing workers to keep up with the changing job market dynamics.

Understanding Reskilling and Transformational Learning

Reskilling, in its simplest definition, refers to the process where individuals learn new skills to perform a different job or adapt to their current job's evolving requirements.

In Malaysia's changing economic landscape, reskilling is gaining prominence as an essential strategy to ensure the workforce remains competitive and relevant.

By reskilling, individuals can improve their employability and career prospects, while organisations can enhance their productivity and agility in responding to market changes.

On the other hand, transformational learning focuses on bringing about profound changes in an individual's perspective and understanding through critical reflection and discourse. It is more profound than simply acquiring new skills or knowledge.

In other words, it encourages individuals to revise their beliefs, perspectives, and habits in response to new experiences or information. It promotes critical reflection and encourages learners to question their assumptions, leading to profound changes in their worldview.

This process can be triggered by a 'disorienting dilemma' that challenges the learner's current understanding, prompting them to reflect, learn, and transform. 

In workforce development, transformational learning can help employees adapt to changing business environments, learn new skills, and improve their performance.

For example, Axiata, a leading telecommunications company in Malaysia, launched a transformational learning initiative to reskill its workforce to adapt to the digital age.

The initiative has reportedly increased employee engagement, improved customer experiences, and enhanced business performance.

Similarly, the Malaysian government has also introduced various reskilling and upskilling programs under its National Training Week program to support workers with their reskilling and upskilling efforts.

These initiatives underscore the growing recognition of reskilling and transformational learning as essential strategies to navigate challenges and seize future opportunities.

The Need for Reskilling in Malaysia

Reskilling in the Malaysian workforce has become an increasing necessity due to the rapid technological advancements and the subsequent talent gap and job security concerns that have arisen.

However, opportunities for upskilling and reskilling in Malaysia are currently lacking, with employers not providing adequate opportunities to their employees for professional development. 

This shortfall is significant, considering that 81% of employees in Malaysia consider professional development necessary.

The sectors most in need of reskilling are those most affected by technological advancements. These include the technology, manufacturing, and service sectors, amongst others.

In these industries, the rapid pace of change has rendered specific skills obsolete, prompting employees to acquire new skills to stay relevant.

However, only 61% of employees in Malaysia currently have access to career promotions, mentorship, and networking opportunities, and even less, 24% receive sufficient training and support from their employers.

This presents a clear and urgent need for more robust training and development programs to be implemented by companies in Malaysia.

Creating a Reskilling and Transformational Learning Culture in Malaysia

Understanding the Need for Reskilling and Transformational Learning in Malaysia

In the face of rapid technological advancements, the need for reskilling and transformational learning is more crucial than ever for the Malaysian workforce.

Economic disruptions, global competition, and the accelerating pace of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have rendered several skills obsolete. As such, jobs are evolving, and new roles are emerging that require different, often more advanced skill sets.

Formulating a Reskilling and Transformational Learning Strategy

Creating a reskilling and transformational learning culture requires a strategic approach. 

First, identify the skills that are in demand and those that will be needed in the future. This can be achieved through labour market analysis, industry consultation, and forecasting.

Once the skills gaps have been identified, the next step is to design and implement training programs to help workers acquire these skills.

These programs should be flexible and accessible, allowing workers to learn at their own pace and convenience. In addition, they should also be aligned with the industry's needs and the workforce's aspirations.

Leveraging Technology for Reskilling and Transformational Learning

With the rise of online learning platforms, workers can now access various courses and training programs from anywhere, anytime. This makes learning more convenient and allows for personalised learning experiences.

Moreover, technology can also be used to track and measure the effectiveness of the learning programs. Data analytics can provide insights into the learners' progress, engagement levels, and the areas where they need more support.

This information can be used to continuously improve and adapt the learning programs to meet the changing needs of the workforce.

Encouraging a Culture of Lifelong Learning

This involves creating an environment where workers are motivated to learn and improve continuously. Employers can play a crucial role in this by recognising and rewarding learning efforts, providing opportunities for career progression, and creating a supportive learning environment.

Lifelong learning benefits not only the workers but also the organisations and the economy as a whole. It enables workers to adapt to changes, increases productivity, and enhances employability.

Developing a Comprehensive Reskilling Strategy

To create a culture supporting reskilling, Malaysia could benefit from a comprehensive national strategy focusing on this area.

This strategy could include objectives such as identifying the skills most needed in the future workforce, designing effective reskilling programs, and creating incentives for individuals and businesses to pursue reskilling. It could also involve a dedication to continual research and evolution as the needs of the workforce change.

A national strategy would not only provide a roadmap for reskilling efforts but also send a clear message to individuals and businesses about the importance of this area. By putting reskilling at the forefront of national conversation, the strategy could help to create a culture where reskilling is valued and pursued.

Encouraging Employer Involvement in Reskilling

Employers have a pivotal role to play in supporting reskilling. They are uniquely positioned to understand the most needed skills in their industry. They can provide practical opportunities for employees to gain these skills through on-the-job training and other initiatives.

Employers can also offer incentives for reskilling, such as increased pay or advancement opportunities, which can help to motivate individuals to engage in this type of learning.

While employer involvement is crucial, it's also important that reskilling initiatives are not solely left to employers. The government, educational institutions, and other stakeholders should also play a role in supporting these efforts.

This could include providing funding, resources, or policy support to aid in the creation and implementation of reskilling programs.

Promoting Access to Quality Education and Training Opportunities

Promoting access to these opportunities could involve a range of strategies.

This could include investing in developing high-quality training programs, providing financial assistance or incentives for individuals to pursue education and training, and ensuring that these opportunities are widely available and accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status.

At Upscale, matching talent with the right opportunities is at the heart of our values. 

We are committed to empowering individuals to reach their full potential by connecting them with quality learning experiences that build the skills required for success in the digital economy.

We have the capabilities and expertise to help employers match talent with the right opportunities and to support individuals in their pursuit of lifelong learning. Our team is dedicated to enabling everyone to succeed in an ever-changing digital world.

Go to upscale.my to find out more about how we can help you enhance your future career or your talent needs.