Malaysia’s construction industry will rebound in 2021

With positive progress in vaccine development, Malaysia’s economy is confidently projected to rebound with a growth between 6.5% to 7.5% next year. The construction industry is expected to expand by 13.9% in 2021, as major infrastructure and affordable housing projects are revived and accelerated to meet deadlines. Most of the growth is expected to be fuelled by domestic investments. State investments and developments in Penang, Johor and Negeri Sembilan will also help boost the construction industry in 2021.

The outlook for the construction industry seems more optimistic after the proposed 2021 Budget was unveiled on 6 November 2020.

Pep Chia, Associate Director of construction, property & engineering at Randstad Malaysia said, “The annual Budget has always been the driving force for the construction industry. National infrastructure projects will also steer state governments and local businesses to focus their investments and resources on the development of business hubs and townships, lifting the construction industry as a whole.”

The jobs that will be in-demand in the construction industry in 2021 are in contract management, tender management, quality assessment and control as well as project management. Common technical skills that employers look for include BIM, IBS, Quality Assessment System in Construction (QLASSIC) and the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS).

2021 labour and salary trends for professionals in construction

The ‘pull’ factors have to be very compelling to job seekers, especially passive candidates who will have a long wish list. For example, these candidates would seek to work with companies that have a strong project pipeline, good financial performance during COVID-19, no recent record of retrenchments or pay cuts as well as a strong management team that is capable of leading the organisation through the pandemic.

With lower hiring budgets during the pandemic, in-demand candidates who switch employers in 2021 can negotiate for a 10% to 15% salary increment, a downward trend from the 20% to 25% offered pre-COVID.

Key highlights in the construction industry outlook in 2021

  • evolution of job responsibilities and required skills for construction in 2021.
  • anticipated job mobility of professionals across industries and different levels of seniority.
  • salary snapshots for 15 in-demand construction jobs in Malaysia.

— Ranstad

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