Malaysians banking on reskilling and upskilling to stay competitive: UOB survey

Nine in 10 employees believe having new or broadened skillsets are necessary to compete in a tightening job market


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28 December 2020 – In an increasingly uncertain job market, nine in 10 Malaysian employees (90 per cent) see the need to reskill or to upskill to stay relevant in the post-pandemic world, according to the results of the UOB ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study1.

The widespread view comes amid expectations in Malaysia that it will be tough to secure a new job due to the economic recession. Eighty-five per cent of Malaysian respondents believe that companies will prefer hiring people who can perform multiple functions, while 83 per cent think employers will reduce headcount by stepping up their digitalisation efforts. The majority of the respondents (78 per cent) expect companies to use retrenchment to cut costs.

Among the different age groups surveyed, concerns around job security are felt most strongly by Generation Z – those between the ages of 18 and 23. Ninety-four per cent of respondents within this age range also believe that employers will retrench staff to cut costs if needed. The sentiment was echoed by Generation X (aged 40 to 55) and Generation Y (aged 24 to 39) at 77 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.

Mr Lai Tak Ming, Executive Director and Country Head of Human Resources, UOB Malaysia, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of continuous learning and development.

“This year has rapidly changed the way we work and these changes will continue to influence how organisations are run in a post-pandemic future. It is imperative for companies to have a workforce that is agile and adaptable in order to weather the ever-changing working conditions brought on by uncertainty and disruptions.

“At UOB Malaysia, we are committed to training and developing our people continually to ensure that they are equipped with future-ready skills. The crisis has accelerated digitalisation and it is important that our people have the necessary skills to meet the needs of a new generation of increasingly tech-savvy customers,” Mr Lai said.

Developing a future-focused workforce through traineeship programmes
As UOB Malaysia continues to nurture a workforce that is future-focused and relevant in the digital age, it also champions several training programmes that provide on-the-job experiences for new graduates and mid-career professionals. These programmes create opportunities for participants to develop the necessary skillsets that will help them to succeed in the banking and finance industry.

Through its holistic learning and development programme, ‘Better U’, UOB Malaysia helps its more than 5,000 employees build successful careers in a world constantly redefined by new technologies. The programme, which was launched in March this year, centres on five core competencies that are important for the Bank’s employees to remain relevant and future-ready. The 12-week foundation course encourages employees to build a growth mindset, to develop complex problem solving skills, as well as to acquire skills in the fields of digital innovation, human-centred design and data storytelling. More than 600 employees have completed the ‘Better U’ programme and the Bank is planning to roll out the second phase in 2021.

The Bank is also creating opportunities for graduates and university students to acquire skills and knowledge through the UOB Malaysia Management Associate (MA) Programme and UOB Malaysia Smart Bankers Internship Programme as they embark on a new career in banking and finance.

In the last three years, the Bank has accepted 20 graduates under the 18-month UOB Malaysia MA Programme, which provides these individuals with an opportunity to develop and to fast-track their banking careers. The programme is designed to provide them with a wide range of core competencies and technical skills through structured classroom training, coaching and mentoring sessions, on-the-job functional rotations, regional job rotations and participation in the Bank’s strategic corporate projects.

The UOB Malaysia Smart Bankers Internship programme allows promising undergraduates to explore a career in banking. UOB Malaysia has taken in more than 118 undergraduates in the past three years and placed them in various functions across the Bank to provide them with practical experience through on-the-job training and mentoring sessions. Interns who perform well in this programme are likely to have better chances when they apply for the Bank’s various entry-level young graduate pathways, including the flagship UOB Malaysia MA programme.

Jobseekers who are interested to know more about traineeship programmes and career growth opportunities at UOB Malaysia should visit UOB’s LinkedIn page.



1 The survey was conducted by UOB and Blackbox in July 2020 among 3,510 individuals aged between 18 and 65 across five ASEAN markets including 1,030 from Singapore and 2,480 across Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Similar to Malaysia, the majority of employees in Indonesia (93 per cent), Singapore (90 per cent), Thailand (93 per cent) and Vietnam (92 per cent) see the need to reskill or to upskill as key to staying competitive.