One of southeast Asia’s largest banking groups has announced it is shifting away from conventional hiring practices in order to better meet the demands of modern professionals.

En Hishamuddin Bin Salleh, head of strategic recruitment at Maybank Group, said the business was “making recruitment sexy again” by experimenting with new strategies, because it realised that what worked in the past doesn’t necessarily work in today’s fast-paced and diverse jobs market.

“We are doing away with the traditional way of putting people in a box – employing them in a position and giving them a title,” he said during a panel discussion at's HR Networking Event 2017, held in Kuala Lumpur.

Salleh said the bank was moving towards assigning professionals to different projects instead.

“It's not a structure where you have department heads and executives,” he said. “For us, it is a big circle where each and and everyone will be leading a project or reporting to someone who is an executive leading a project,” he said.

This flat structure is part of the company's approach to making the workplace more attractive to the younger workforce. Millennials favour projects where they can contribute their ideas and skills in a variety of fields, he added.

Martin Hayden, chief commercial officer at recruitment company Seek Asia, said there have been huge changes in employee behaviour, with greater flexibility and freelance options more in demand.

“Millennials care about salary, but they also want a career path,” he said. “They also care about culture and about what their organisation does – whether it is for profit or something more meaningful.”.

Hayden said these trends, coupled with a shift towards demand for science, technology, engineering and math skills, added to the challenge faced by current employers.

If skills gaps can’t be filled by candidates within the existing jobs market, “it’s our role as employers to invest in the education of our existing employees”, he added, saying that businesses needed to become more creative in their recruitment.

Salleh agreed that millennials are not necessary keen on a ‘9 to 5’ job. “They are internet-ready – they are connected all the time,” he said. “The are also keen on working part-time, coming into the office at 9.30am or 10am and leaving at 4pm. They want to have connectivity in the office and access to Facebook on their laptops.”

Maybank is considering offering part-time work to keep up with the trends as permanent jobs become more “scarce”, he added.

Headquartered in Malaysia, Maybank employees more than 44,000 people across Asia, with offices in Singapore, the Philippines and Hong Kong.

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