Professionalize the transport and logistics sector
The Malaysian economy’s dependence on migrant workers is a time bomb, exacerbated by the recent pandemic when borders are closed, causing huge labor shortages in critical sectors.
According to Malaysia’s National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCIM), migrant workers now number 1.1 million – down 800,000 from 1.9 million in 2018, leaving a void in the hand -work, especially in the lowest positions. Yet the youth unemployment rate is at an all time high.
Clearly, unless working conditions and salary levels improve for these positions to attract local talent, employers are at the mercy of labor regulations and international politics.
With this foresight, PKT Logistics Group Sdn. Bhd, a leading logistics company in Malaysia, shielded its business from such uncertainties with its “hire only locals” policy long before the pandemic struck. From office staff to truck drivers, warehouse workers and janitors, the business is made up entirely of Malaysians.
âThe logistics industry is the backbone of a country’s economy. We are proud of the fact that PKT is a Malaysian company powered by Malaysians, âsays Dato ‘Seri Dr. Michael Tio, CEO and Managing Director.
However, driving trucks and taking inventory in a warehouse is rarely seen as a sexy career, so how does the company attract future logisticians?
The answer is: professionalize the industry.
Smart Trucker Program
After taking the time to understand what current graduates want in their careers, the group launched the Smart Trucker program in 2015 and began its mission to train quality candidates.
“Young talents want a qualifying training, a clear career path, a placement and also a work culture which values ââtheir expertise”, explains Tio.
To join the company’s workforce through internships, graduates can choose between Smart Logistician and Smart Truckers Program. While both streams undergo a 6-month training period, the Smart Truckers program guarantees them a trucking job upon completion.
In six months, Smart Trucker trainees will obtain their GDL (Freight Driver’s License) and Class E-Full license, fully sponsored by the company. Then they continue to be fully employed by PKT for 48 months and receive more income according to the respective allowance per trip, which can reach 4000-6000 RM.
Tio adds that this program design is a combination of structure and flexibility. So, during the fifth year, they can consider moving to jobs other than trucking and take on managerial positions in the company like finance, HR, IT.
These executive or senior management roles offer them an expected salary of RM3,000-3,500, which is considered above the mid-market rate.
âThey have four years of trucking experience and, depending on their aspirations, we give them the opportunity to pursue other interests within the logistics business. “
The program instills professionalism from the basics, such as showing up for work in a tidy uniform, being held accountable for keeping their trucks in good condition, timely evaluating their performance by trainers, and continuously improving theoretical and practical skills. .
âAs the logistics industry adopts more and more advanced technology, the role of truck drivers will evolve with it. Thus, investing in the training of competent truck drivers not only paves the way for the future growth of the company, but also enriches Malaysia’s talent pool by becoming the next logistics hub for ASEAN. “said Tio.
The company is also the first to provide a trucker’s lounge in all of its warehouses for its drivers to relax between trips, helping to ensure they are well rested for safe driving.
âIf we want employees to behave professionally at work, we too as employers need to look after their well-being and make them feel valued.
Strategic partnerships with local universities
In October 2020, together with the Government’s National Economic Recovery Program (Penjana) Ministry of Higher Education and Professional Advancement Program (KPT-CAP), the group committed to train and offer internships to 100 graduates from public universities through the Smart Trucker program.
By May 2021, the group had surpassed its KPI and successfully placed 175 graduates, including 50 from Utara Malaysia University (UUM).
Among them, Muhamad Amirul Solehin bin Noor Kamarudin, 25, graduated from UUM with a diploma in management of technology and logistics. After completing the 6 month training, he is now a full time employee of PKT and works as a warehouse coordinator at the company’s newest facility – The 12 Waves in Batu Kawan, Penang.
âPKT is committed to providing employment opportunities for those who wish to serve with passion while supporting nation-building initiatives despite difficult times,â said Tio.
He believes that collaboration between universities and industries to improve the marketing of graduates will increase the youth employment rate and ensure a stable talent pool for the sector.