Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

What's it like to recruit in Malaysia?

What's it like to recruit in Malaysia?

In 2017, the unemployment rate in Malaysia was at approximately 3.4%.

A blend of cosmopolitan cityscapes, cultural sites and exotic islands, Malaysia’s natural and diverse beauty puts it high on the bucket list. The country also boasts several contrasts, for example, with Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers a popular tourist destination, the city is also the only one in the world home to a natural rainforest.

But, what is the recruitment market like out there?  Global workforce solutions provider Airswift recently expanded operations with a new office in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Their Regional Director - South East Asia, Charles Pfauwadel, tells us more…

Why did you decide to open in Malaysia?

At Airswift we’ve always believed it’s vital to have the right people in the right locations for our clients, so this new office is an exciting step. One quarter of Malaysia’s petroleum and natural gas are in Sabah’s waters, so this location is an ideal fit. Our clients will now be able to move employees across Malaysia while maintaining a single employer – providing a simple, fast and efficient way to mobilise personnel. With more people on the ground, we can offer candidates and contractors personal, tailored support when they are on assignment.


Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) was crowned Most Attractive Employer in Malaysia for 2018, according to a Randstad survey.

Has there been significant growth within this region?

Airswift has expanded significantly in recent years, and now employs more than 800 people in over 60 offices worldwide. The company also manages a deployed workforce of more than 6,000 global contactors and has expanded operations, complementing its presence in Kuala Lumpur.

Major languages in Malaysia include: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam

Malaysia is home to some 31 million people. The population is a melting pot of ethnicities, half of which is made up of Malays. Chinese, Indian and indigenous tribal groups also make up its vast population.

 What do the new offices mean for clients and candidates in the region?

This new office will support clients by offering continuous mobility support between Malaysia’s different states while maintaining a single employer – providing a simple, fast and efficient way to mobilise personnel.

For our candidates, the office will support on assignment while working on the increasing local manpower needs created by the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority’s flagship projects. These include the Pan Borneo highway, Kilmanis Power Plant and Sabah International Convention Centre.


What are your future plans?

Airswift has set a clear strategic direction for the upcoming years. This incorporates supporting our clients with their locally focused talent acquisition needs and providing structured mobility services for their relocating expatriate workforce.

While working in a politically and culturally diverse region can be challenging, the stringently developed partnerships that Airswift have in place allow for us to compliantly work with our clients in any location through our ever-increasing footprint in this region.

The Sabah structure plan for 2033 aims to turn the state into a world-class environment for work, study and play.

What are the wider impacts of the sector in Malaysia?

Benefiting from supporting all territories of Malaysia, Airswift brings clients closer together to their operational requirements and their workforce, which we believe generates an increase in efficiency.