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Malaysia – Low-skilled jobs dominate labour market in 2018

15 March 2019

Low-skilled jobs dominated Malaysia’s labour market in 2018, according to research from Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad.

The MIDF’s study showed that for every 100 jobs offered in 2018, 89 were for low-skilled jobs, seven for medium-skilled jobs and four high-skilled jobs.

In a report on the Malaysian labour market for 2018, the labour force saw a year-on-year increase of 2.2% to 15 million people employed. The job market was dominated by low-skilled jobs as of January 2019, with 77.6% of job vacancies for elementary positions, 11.8% for machine operators, while 10.6% were for medium- and high-skilled jobs. 

The higher job growth stemmed from increased levels of exports, according to MIDF Research. This was as in January 2019, when exports grew 3.1%, significantly above consensus estimates of 1.4% growth.

According to data from MIDF Research and CEIC Holdings Ltd, the agriculture, forestry and fishing, manufacturing, construction and service sectors saw the biggest demand in jobs.

“Moving into 2019, we expect an increase in job vacancies, particularly for the agriculture, mining and construction sectors amid a gradual pickup in global commodity prices and increases in government investments,” MIDF stated.

However, it showed that the first half of 2019 will see job vacancies in the manufacturing sector moderate due to global trade uncertainties.

MIDF Research head of research Mohd Redza Abdul Rahman said according to the Industry 4WRD plan, the government is hoping for skilled workers in the manufacturing sector to increase to 35% in 2025, from 18% in 2016.

Redza added that the trend favouring low-skilled jobs would continue to affect youth and graduate unemployment. However, he noted government efforts to promote reskilling and entrepreneurship, particularly in areas related to the 4th Industrial Revolution, are targeted at Malaysian youths particularly graduates in light of the predominance of low-skilled jobs in the economy.

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