The Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA) has lauded the significant development for SMEs announced by the Minister of Human Resources, Steven Sim, as reported by sme.asia yesterday.

Sim had announced the launch of the Internship Placement Matching Grant for SMEs and Start-ups (LiKES). This initiative is poised to revolutionise the recruitment landscape for SMEs, providing them with a much-needed edge in the ongoing talent crunch.

The LiKES program, managed by TalentCorp, offers a substantial top-up to internship allowances, adding RM250 for diploma students and RM300 for degree students per month.

This financial boost is expected to make SMEs a more appealing choice for interns, enhancing the prospects of retaining these skilled individuals post-graduation.

Addressing the common misconception that SMEs are inferior employers, SAMENTA president Datuk William Ng, highlighted the competitive nature of SMEs in the job market. “Many SMEs offer salary and benefits packages that rival larger local companies,” he said.

A 2020 survey conducted by SME100 and global HR advisory firm Towers Watson, with support from SAMENTA, found that Malaysian SMEs surpass their regional counterparts in employee engagement, scoring an impressive 90 percent in employee experience, six percent above the regional average.

Ng said that internships at SMEs offer unique advantages over larger corporations, providing interns with direct access to company leaders and a broader range of experiences due to the flatter organizational structures. These factors contribute to a more meaningful internship experience.

SAMENTA is set to collaborate with TalentCorp to identify exemplary SME employers for the program. This partnership aims to broaden the horizons for young Malaysians seeking internships and empower forward-thinking SMEs to nurture and secure top local talent.

As Malaysia continues to navigate the challenges of the talent crunch, initiatives like LiKES give hope to SMEs striving to attract, train, and retain skilled workers, ensuring a robust and dynamic future for the nation’s economy.

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