According to the Grant Thornton International Business Report, 62 per cent of businesses in Malaysia are facing difficulties in sourcing skilled workers. This is ahead of Singapore, which sits at 61 per cent, a figure well above the global average of 39 per cent.

The survey also revealed that in the Asean region, shortage of specific or technical skills represents the most significant factor for businesses in Vietnam at 86 per cent, followed by the Philippines at 76 per cent and Malaysia at 68 per cent.

Grant Thornton said the report highlighted other factors that hinder recruitment in Malaysia, citing lack of appropriate work experience (63 per cent), shortage of general employability skills such as teamwork and communication in English (62 per cent).

Grant Thornton’s statement also said Malaysian businesses face an increased operating cost (52 per cent), increased workload for remaining staff (47 per cent) and also fall in customer service standards (38 per cent).

Datuk NK Jasani, Managing Partner of SJ Grant Thornton, said a business is nothing without its people, just as a strategy is nothing without the people to drive it forward.

Jasani said the shortage of skilled workers reported by business leaders should provoke concern, especially at a time when unemployment is prevalent in many mature markets.