Why Do So Many Malaysian Jobs Require Mandarin?

If you are looking for a job in Malaysia, you might have noticed something about many of the advertised jobs. Many of the job requirements include knowledge of Mandarin. In some industries, it seems that knowing Bahasa Malay is not actually as important as knowing how to speak Mandarin. The two most common languages asked for in job advertisements are English and Mandarin. The reasoning is simple; the economies of the English- and Mandarin-speaking world are very robust and growing.


English is the first language of many hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is the language of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia; those are very large economies that tend to drive new trends and market innovations all over the world. If you are looking for clerical jobs in Malaysia suited for you, you’ll likely need to interact with customers and clients in one of those three countries. More likely, you’ll deal with all of them. Also, the United States and the United Kingdom drive much of the content and innovation on the Internet; therefore, using programs, interacting on social media, and dealing with technical issues will likely require some knowledge of English.

Also, English is the most common second language in the world. While the population of native speakers might be dwarfed by other languages, it is the language that is commonly chosen for doing business. From the EU to the UN, English is usually the most common language that you will hear. That is a sign that it is the dominant lingua franca of the business and political worlds. A close second is Mandarin.

Mandarin Language

China has a population of 1.4 billion people and of those citizens, about a billion speak Mandarin. There are some communities in rural areas of China where Mandarin is understood but it’s a second language. It’s also the language of Taiwan and one of four official languages in Singapore. That puts the population of native Mandarin speakers somewhere near two billion. Then there are many more people throughout Asia who speak Mandarin as a second or third language. It is the language of doing business in much of continental Asia. If you are a clerk for a large Malaysian company, you will need to be able to interact with the billions of people who speak Mandarin, especially those who are in China.

China has the second-highest nominal GDP in the world. That makes it the second largest economy in the world. When you can interact with the United States, China, and the European Union, you can interact with the three largest economies in the world. That’s absolutely essential for any business that wants to expand its business to larger markets.

For those reasons, so many jobs in Malaysia want you to be able to speak English and Mandarin. Some would like you for you to speak Japanese or other regional languages; those interests in less global languages depend on the nature of the business. Do not worry if you don’t speak Mandarin, though, as there are still many jobs available.