According to the newly launched SME Employment Index, the SME sector of Malaysia is showing positive signs of recovery as they tackle the labor shortage caused by the great resignation and the pandemic.’s Co-Founder and CEO, Benjamin Croc, said:
“The SME Employment Index tracks the health of employment in the SME sector and factors in the aggregated data of 14,000 employees on Southeast Asia’s fastest growing end-to-end HR platform.”

Rise in wages

The data also showed that salaries increased by 1.3% in the first quarter of the year after showing a drop during the COVID 19 lockdowns. The increase in salary budgets is notable.

While many other organizations continue to operate on limited budgets as they focus on navigating their way out of the (COVID-19) problem and back to growth, forward-thinking SME enterprises are eager to overcome the manpower scarcity caused by the great resignation and the pandemic. 

Increase in Recruitment

The new index shows a more than 5% increase in employment numbers in the SME sector in just the first quarter of 2022. That’s strong growth and an uplift on the more than 4% increase for the last quarter of 2021 or a 10% increase in employment numbers over the last six months from October 2021 to March 2022. 

This is a good sign, and it shows that the SME sector is aggressively recovering from the epidemic and taking the required steps to recruit and retain people.

The Malaysian economy has long relied on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). Over the last two years, SMEs in the country and abroad have faced a lot of challenges. It was reported by the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) that since the outbreak of the pandemic, at least 150,000 SMEs in the country have shut their doors. This has resulted in 1.2 million job losses.

“We would also like to commend the Malaysian government for swiftly addressing  the country’s unemployment rates through the implementation of various schemes such as the JaminKerja Keluarga Malaysia.

Croc also explained that the initiative is divided into three major programs, the first of which is the JaminKerja Employment Initiative, aims to create 300,000 new job opportunities. The Malaysia Short-Term Employment Programme (MySTEP), the second initiative, will provide 80,000 job opportunities in the public sector, government-linked companies, and strategic partners. The third program is HRD Corp’s Upskill Malaysia, which provides job seekers with practical skills training to improve their marketability and guarantees job placements.

The Prospects for 2022 and Beyond 

“We foresee that demand for skilled workers remains at an all-time high as firms strive to attract and keep the best and most diverse talent as they embrace the post-pandemic period. 

With the better economic situation in many locations, employers must frequently examine their current employee value propositions and look into delivering complete benefits packages that will encourage individuals to work for them in order to retain and recruit these employees.”