The first half of 2023 is almost over. Amidst a mixed bag of sentiment, we round up the top HR-related news for the month.
Singapore-based ride-hailing and food delivery giant Grab has announced its first round of layoffs since 2020, cutting 1,000 jobs as part of its ongoing restructuring efforts. The company cited the need to streamline operations and improve efficiency as reasons for the layoffs. Grab has been diversifying its business beyond ride-hailing and expanding into sectors such as financial services and food delivery, but it is still unable to turn a profit. Despite the job cuts, Grab remains focused on its long-term growth strategy and aims to enhance its position in Southeast Asia's digital economy.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim has launched a flagship programme for graduates, as announced by the Securities Commission Malaysia. The program, known as investED, NextGen Capital Market Talent, aims to enhance the talent pool in the capital market sector and develop a pipeline of skilled professionals. It will provide selected graduates with training, mentoring, and job placement opportunities in various areas of the capital market, including Islamic finance and sustainable finance. The initiative is expected to contribute to the growth and development of Malaysia's capital market while providing graduates with valuable skills and employment prospects in the industry.
According to a survey conducted by CPA Australia in mainland China, over one-third of small businesses intend to expand their workforce this year. The study found that 35% of the surveyed small businesses are planning to increase their headcount, indicating a positive outlook for job growth. The findings suggest that despite the challenges posed by the wider economy, many small businesses in China are optimistic about their prospects and are actively seeking to hire more employees.
Malaysia has been placed back on the Tier 2 Watch List in the United States' State Department's annual human trafficking report. This reflects concerns over Malaysia's efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly in terms of prosecuting and convicting traffickers. The report also indicates that Malaysia has made efforts to combat human trafficking, and highlights the need for the Malaysian government to improve its victim protection measures and increase efforts to investigate and dismantle trafficking networks. This development underscores the importance of Malaysia taking more decisive actions to address human trafficking and protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation.
The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore has released its Labour Market Report for the first quarter of 2023. The report highlights a decline in overall employment due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing restructuring efforts. Sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and accommodation services experienced job losses, while sectors like information and communications, finance and insurance, and professional services saw employment growth. The report also indicates an increase in the unemployment rate and a rise in the number of retrenchments during the quarter. Efforts are being made to support affected workers through various training and employment assistance programs.
The Indian outsourcing industry, known for its vast employment opportunities, is experiencing a downturn as major outsourcing giants such as TCS, Infosys, and Wipro have significantly reduced their hiring activities, leading to growing concerns among students and the overall economy. The decline in job opportunities is attributed to factors such as automation, increased reliance on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and a shift towards hiring local talent in client markets. This trend has left many students disheartened and worried about their career prospects, highlighting the need for them to adapt to emerging technologies and acquire new skills to remain competitive in the evolving job market.
As we close out May and move into June, we round up the top HR-related news for the month.
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has emphasized that employers are legally obligated to accept all official medical certificates issued by registered medical practitioners under the Employment Act. The MOM’s clarification aims to address instances where employers reject certain medical certificates and highlights the importance of trusting medical professionals’ judgment when assessing employee medical conditions. This clarification aims to ensure fair treatment of employees and compliance with the law, emphasizing that employers should not question or disregard certified medical advice and must respect the medical leave entitlements of their employees.
The Malaysian government has announced that companies found to have employed migrant workers then leaving them stranded will face legal consequences. The move comes as part of Malaysia’s efforts to crack down on labour exploitation and protect the rights of migrant workers. The government has pledged to take action against employers who have hired these workers despite knowing their stranded status, and intends to impose strict penalties, including fines and possible imprisonment. This initiative highlights Malaysia’s commitment to combating labour abuses and ensuring fair treatment of migrant workers within the country.
Real wages in Japan for fiscal year 2022 experienced the sharpest decline in eight years as inflation took its toll. This decline in real wages, which accounts for inflation, reflects the challenges faced by Japanese workers who are grappling with rising prices that outpace their income growth. The data suggests a growing financial strain on households, which could impact consumer spending and the overall economy.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, labour productivity in Malaysia saw an increase in four out of five key sectors during the first quarter of 2023, recording a 2.1% growth in value per hour worked. The sectors that experienced growth were manufacturing, services, construction, and agriculture. This rise in productivity indicates positive economic growth and efficiency in these industries. However, the mining sector showed a decline in productivity. The overall trend suggests that Malaysia’s economy is performing well, with notable improvements in various sectors, which bodes well for the country’s economic outlook.
The Hong Kong government has implemented a new guidance and warning system to prevent heatstroke at workplaces amid the increasing frequency of heatwaves in Asia. The system provides guidelines for employers on managing heat-related risks, including monitoring the workplace temperature, implementing regular breaks, and encouraging employees to stay hydrated. It also includes a heat index warning system that categorizes the level of heat stress and suggests appropriate precautionary measures. The initiative aims to protect workers’ health and safety during extreme heat conditions, promoting awareness and proactive measures to mitigate the risks of heat-related illnesses in the workplace.
The Election Commission of Thailand has declared the MFP (Move Forward Party) as the winner of the recent election held on Sunday. The MFP, led by Pita Limjaroenrat secured the most number of seats, giving them a significant victory in the political landscape of Thailand as alliances are struck to form the next government. MFP’s employment-related campaign promises include a minimum wage policy, boosting free trade, and getting rid of monopolies, among other reforms.