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The Digital Skills and Gig Economy Employability Programme – Impact Report

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The gig economy experienced a burst in growth following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, with the youths turning to freelance-based employment to adjust to a new normal. 

Microsoft Malaysia, in collaboration with Biji-biji Initiative, will work towards connecting aspiring youths with in-demand skills and expertise to kickstart future-proof their careers in the gig economy.

The gig economy is a burgeoning form of employment among Malaysians. 

According to World Bank, 25.1 per cent of Malaysians are self-employed in 2020, and this number is expected to increase as more Malaysians favour freelance, project-based hires.

Over the course of 2020, it became increasingly important to acknowledge the demands for digital skills, products and services as the landscape of our economy changed with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the same time when businesses of all sizes began scaling operations for a digital transformation, individuals themselves realised the necessity of future-proofing their careers.

The Digital Skills and Gig Economy Employability Programme

In partnership with Microsoft Malaysia, Biji-biji Initiative launched the ‘Digital Skills and Gig Economy Employability Programme’ in September 2020 to acknowledge the growth of the gig economy especially among the youths and budding professionals of Malaysia. 

This initiative is in addition to Microsoft’s existing Global Skilling Initiative with Linkedin and Github, which has reached 10 million engaged learners globally, including 36,000 Malaysians since its announcement.

Watch: A New Normal with the Gig Economy

Watch key highlights from the programme, featuring Idris Bin Azim, Zulykha Zainal, Heng Lun Lee, Dashika Gnaneswaran and Rashvin Pal Singh. 

Phase 1 of the Digital Skills and the Gig Economy Employability programme launched a total of 6 webinars across six weeks, a forum and design thinking workshop via partnerships with gig platforms, social enterprises, non-governmental organisations, startups and government agencies. 

Our community and content partners, such as GoGet Malaysia, Workana, Rtist, TheKedua.com, HeroKita, NGOhub, SOLS Health, Zucchini & Co., MDEC, Izwan & Partners, Arus Academy, and Ringgit Oh Ringgit have provided tremendous support to the programme and the participants. 

Overall, the programme managed to capture close to 600 participants, with 61% of the applicants originating from the bottom tier income earners accounting for 40% of the country’s total income, also known as the B40 communities.

Aligned with Microsoft and Biji-biji Initiative to champion careers in the gig economy and to better prepare our communities for the future of work, Biji-biji Initiative also had the opportunity to learn about Danny Marzuki’s journey in embarking on the road less travelled as a freelance creative producer.

While others prepared for university, Danny Marzuki immersed himself in online classes to improve his videography and photography skills during the summer after his high school graduation.

Armed with a Nikon D810, a camera he borrowed from his aunt, Danny forged his path in the gig economy, pursuing his passion as a professional creative producer even without a traditional university degree.

Follow Danny’s journey in establishing a viable gig career as a freelance creative producer.

Empowering aspiring youths with digital skills

While the program has brought awareness to Malaysia’s gig economy and provided educational opportunities, there is still an identified lack of infrastructure to support these future workers. 

Moving forward, Microsoft Malaysia, in collaboration with Biji-biji Initiative, will be working towards engaging aspiring youths with in-demand skills, knowledge and expertise to kickstart their careers within the gig economy.

Embracing changes to adapt is essential to survival. 

In the burgeoning world of freelance employment, continuous and regular investments of time and effort to sharpen or learn new skills becomes the key to resilience and being able to thrive. 

To provide access to digital knowledge and skills, Microsoft has launched a global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of 2020. 

This initiative combines existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft, providing free learning paths mapped to in-demand jobs, discounted Microsoft certifications to validate skills, and best practices for job searching and interview prep. 

Check out free online courses under Microsoft’s Global Skilling Initiative to boost your digital skills here.