4 Things Malaysian Employers MUST Consider Before Hiring Interns in 2022

December 3, 2021
Nicholas K

Disclaimer: This article should not be considered to be legal advice, and altHR is not liable for any actions taken based on this article.‍‍

The common misconception by many organisations in Malaysia is that interns are an affordable source of labour. And with employment law in Malaysia not quite offering interns much in way of minimum wage protection, this is a perception that can lead to some negative experiences for interns — many of whom are experiencing the formal work environment for the very first time. 

But this shouldn’t detract from the clear benefits that a well-designed internship programme can offer — for both organisations and interns themselves. These include fresh perspectives from the younger generation, enhancing the general visibility of your company, and even an increase in productivity from the increased energy levels that fresh blood can bring to the room (among a host of other benefits). 

And as we close off a challenging 2021 and begin plans for a brighter 2022 in Malaysia, you might be designing a brand new internship programme for your organisation — and you’ve come to the right place. Here are 4 key considerations you’ll need to take into account before hiring interns in Malaysia for 2022. 

1. Do you need to pay interns in Malaysia?

The first thing we’ll need to discuss is remuneration for interns in Malaysia; as mentioned above, interns do not appear to be covered by employment law in Malaysia for minimum wage requirements. This means that technically, you probably don’t need to pay the minimum monthly wage — up to RM1,200 in Malaysia. 

However, with the cost of living in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur continually rising, employers bear a responsibility to ensure that their employees — interns and full-timers alike — are able to earn a living wage. You should also remember that internships are not simply affordable labour. Rather, internships are a great opportunity for students to gain experience, while offering a useful avenue for employers to recruit potential employees. 

We’ve covered the law on interns in Malaysia in further detail previously, so read more about that here.

2. Should you even hire an intern in the first place?

An internship should be a mutually beneficial agreement between an organisation and students looking for real-world experience in the workplace. If you’re looking to add new perspectives to the team, or if you’re looking for some help with certain projects from interns — who have the potential to be recruited as full-time employees at the end of their stints — then these are good reasons to recruit interns for your company. 

However, you shouldn’t simply hire for the sake of hiring, or if: 

  • You’re looking for “free” labour
  • You don’t have time to train your intern
  • Your organisation does not have a well-defined internship programme

3. You need to build a solid internship experience

It’s essential to design a solid internship experience, as our own interns have shared in the podcast above — watch the video if you’re looking for insider perspectives for employers to consider when building an attractive programme. Of course, a successful programme can differ from company to company, industry to industry, and from state to state. 

Regardless, here are a couple of tips on designing a successful experience for your interns: 

  • Set out a clear job description for your interns
  • Schedule regular two-way feedback sessions
  • Ensure that your interns are engaged and busy on the job
  • Assign a mentor to your intern
  • Offer learning opportunities with different departments/disciplines 

4. What happens when the internship ends? 

This, of course, can vary depending on the seniority of your interns, who can range from 1st year university students, all the way to final year students, or even fresh graduates. Candidates from the latter two groups generally hope to earn permanent employment by the company at the end of the temporary stint — which means that the internship serves as a trial of sorts to see if the arrangement suits both parties. 

Of course, this is subject to the organisation’s budget and available vacancies, but this is an outcome that is probably the best-case scenario for many interns. This is because an internship period — generally between 3–6 months, although there is no hard requirement on this — can be a period of time for a fresh graduate to learn the ropes of a new job/industry, and a time for them to prove themselves to their potential employers. 

However, if your company decides against hiring the intern (or if they plan to return to their full-time studies), you should still debrief them at the end of the internship. Again, this should be a fairly fluid process which will vary depending on the organisation, but you should use this as an opportunity to formally review the candidate, while providing constructive feedback that will help your intern with future opportunities. 

And of course, a farewell gift or meal is always appreciated by all parties involved. 

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Keeping track of your company’s interns may seem like a simple enough process. But as your business grows, and your company scales, your headcount will also grow exponentially. Consequently, you’ll need to digitalise your HR processes if you want to stay on top of it all — and thrive in the digital era post-pandemic. 

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altHR continues to be an essential part of succeeding in the digital era. 

Keeping track of everything can be challenging, particularly for employers and HR professionals in the SME sector — but it doesn’t have to be. The world is going increasingly digital these days, and this trend is set to continue in the years to come. HR professionals are often faced with daunting, often tedious tasks on a daily basis — tasks that have become even more difficult to handle in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. 

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Sign up for altHR, the all-in-one digital solution that covers everything from onboarding to staff management and providing employees with information kits. You’ve done it the old way long enough.

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