Since its inception in 2011, TalentCorp has been under a lot of criticism for ‘failing’ in its mission to persuade the estimated one million Malaysians abroad to come home and serve the country, despite pouring so much money into the effort.

But contrary to common belief, TalentCorp is not all about luring professional Malaysians based overseas.

“Actually, seventy or eighty percent (of our work) is targeted towards Malaysians in the country,” says its chief ShareenSharizaAbdul Ghani.

Women and youth are high on the agenda of TalentCorp, an agency set up by the government under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to enhance talent availability in the country.

“Right now, (our focus) is on how to prepare talents to have the21st centuryskill sets -problem solving, analytical thinking, and the ability to communicate your ideas and solutions.”

AWANI Review sits down with Shahreen to discuss some of the lessons that TalentCorp has learnt over the years in its efforts to address brain drain in Malaysia, and what is needed to prepare the talent pipeline for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Luring Malaysians Back Home, Beyond the Incentives

‘When we talk to Malaysians abroad, we need to be open in terms of what's happening in the country. Sometimes, the information that they receive may not be fair and reflective of the real situation. So, we look at how we bring the messages of what opportunities that are available in the country. So, that's one thing we are now doing better.”

Filling up the Talent Gap

“We use our critical occupation list (COL) list that Talentcorp publishes every year that shows that some occupations that we cannot fill with Malaysians in the country. So, when we speak to Malaysians abroad, we use that list. We want to be more targeted.”

Local Talents Not Undermined

“When we look at talents in the country - be itwomenor young people, we use digital capabilities to profile the talent, to know what they are about beyond their qualification."

“The ability to collaborate and work together with people, creativity and innovation is important. These are elements that we need to build into talents so that they are ready for challenges in the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

On TalentCorp Embracing Disruption

“The way I have adapted to disruption in my workplace is to be the disruptor. We always question the ideas that we have. We think deep and hard some of the things that we do. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work! And we move on to do other things. To me, that isdisruptionin a positive way."

“I’m encouraged with the creation of the Digital Free Trade Zone - that kind of environment encourages people to think of solutions in a different way. It disrupts current practices that are not fit for purpose if we want to be competitive and forward-thinking.”