Malaysian SMEs Set for Growth in 2024 Despite Challenges, Says Employment Hero Report

Despite concerns over rising costs and inflation, a significant 79% of Malaysian SMEs are confident about their growth prospects in 2024, according to the SME Sentiments Report by Employment Hero. The report also highlights challenges such as rising costs, staff upskilling issues for medium-sized businesses, and outlines opportunities in digital transformation, global expansion, and employee education.

19 January 2024 – Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are gearing up for a year of growth in 2024, as revealed by the SME Sentiments Report from Employment Hero. The survey, conducted in November-December 2023 with insights from 540 business leaders, unveiled that an impressive 79% of respondents express confidence in the growth prospects of their companies, despite concerns about rising costs and inflation.

According to the report, half of the SME leaders surveyed (50%) believe Malaysia’s economy will perform well in the next 12 months. However, 18% hold a pessimistic view, expecting the economy to be poor, while 32% remain cautiously optimistic about its performance, anticipating an average outcome.

Kevin Fitzgerald, Managing Director (Asia) at Employment Hero, commented on the findings, stating, “A healthy majority of SMEs in Malaysia are starting to feel more confident having gone through some challenging years, while some are still concerned, tightly managing their expectations and business.”

The report identified rising costs and inflation as the primary challenges for 48% of the respondents. Medium-sized businesses, in particular, are grappling with staff upskilling and manpower shortages due to factors such as higher salary expectations, a mismatch between industry needs and skills training, and a reported higher-than-average rate of brain drain.

Fitzgerald emphasized the importance of the report’s insights for business leaders, stating, “I hope this analysis of business sentiments in the Malaysia market serves as a crucial compass for leaders navigating the dynamic landscape of 2024. Whether it involves new approaches, recalibrating operational processes, or optimizing resource allocation, these data-driven insights can help with proactive decision-making.”

The top three opportunities identified for Malaysian SMEs in 2024 include digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and automation (32%), global expansion and e-commerce (31%), and employee education and training (28%). Additionally, challenges for SMEs in the country this year include cash flow (28%) and lower revenue and customers (23%). – ref: The Edge

Author: Terry KS

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