Data from LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2020 revealed that while the majority of Malaysians see the importance of having the right connections, nearly two in five believe their networks are inadequate. In addition, only one in three Malaysians are looking for networking and mentorship opportunities, which may suggest that many understand the importance of building their networks but are unsure of how to go about doing it.
Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is all the more important for professionals to stay connected with their networks and even form new connections, to gain access to opportunities now, and in preparation for the future.
“We’re facing uncertain times as a global community. We are seeing organisations and workers everywhere impacted. During challenging times like this, we believe it is all the more important to build stronger networks. This can potentially aid us in seeking out new opportunities even as we weather through, and recover from this crisis,” said Olivier Legrand, Managing Director of LinkedIn Asia Pacific.
18 percent of all Malaysians across all age and gender groups find the lack of networking and connection, as well as lack of direction and guidance among the top barriers to opportunities.
Although this is felt across all generations of Malaysians, career builders — consisting of Gen Z (16 percent) and Millennials (18 percent) — grapple with the lack of networks and connection the most. In fact, they cite this as the third most difficult barrier to overcome.
The lack of networks may show up differently depending on various factors such as educational background, for example. Those who have stronger networks have the added advantage of accessing opportunities they want through connections. At LinkedIn, this is what we call the ‘network gap’. Narrowing the network gap is therefore a key step in ensuring a more equal access to opportunities for all.
Narrowing the network gap is a community effort
Olivier notes, “All of us have a part to play in working to plug the network gap — whether you are just starting out in your career, or a seasoned professional.”
Through the LinkedIn platform, professionals from all over the world can reach out, seek advice, and learn from others. Younger professionals should get in touch with others if they need help, and those in a position to give advice or support are encouraged to do so as well.
Nadhir Ashafiq, Co-Founder and Executive Director of TheLorry shared, “Long-lasting and valuable networks can be created on LinkedIn through building up your own profile. Users can showcase their efforts in executing a project with significant impact, create engaging and thoughtful content and generally provide value to other professionals who are in their network. This will naturally create opportunities for you and your business. LinkedIn has helped me and TheLorry to find the right partners, investors, and connections which have benefited our business in the short-term and long-term.”
“Networking and connecting with people to foster meaningful relationships is absolutely essential for professional growth. It’s our community of colleagues, clients, partners, peers as well as others within or outside your circle who will open doors for you. Be it to understand business issues, finding new opportunities or getting potential clients, all require an entrepreneur to leverage on their connections,” said Faeez Fadhlillah, co-founder of Tripfez, a fast-growing, online travel platform dedicated to the modern Muslim traveller. Tripfez was recently successfully sold to an online Travel Agency from the Middle East. “LinkedIn has enabled me to bridge the network gap and my connections allow me to unlock thrilling new opportunities that I simply would not have access to before.”
In addition, one of the ways LinkedIn is helping is through its LinkedIn Coaches programme, an initiative for job seekers facing barriers in growing their careers and expanding their network.
During this time, LinkedIn has also committed to connecting businesses with urgent and essential hiring needs to people who have the right skills via access to free hiring resources. The talent marketplace initiative launched across the globe offers free job postings and promoting urgent jobs and hiring resources to help critical industries in the frontlines find talent quickly.