Unemployment Rate: More than Just Statistics

The recent labour force survey released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia revealed that Malaysia’s unemployment rate decreased by 4.1 percent in February 2022 (or 671,800 people), against January’s 680,400.

On the other hand, Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research said that there are over 1.8 million tertiary educated Malaysians suffering from skill-related underemployment

Further, new graduates who joined the local job market have been receiving lower pay than in previous years, and in 2020, most were getting the absolute lowest salary allowed by law, according to Statistics Department’s chief statistician, Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

In 2020, 35.2 percent of fresh graduates earned between RM1,001 and RM1,500 compared to RM2,001-RM2,500 in 2019; an increase from 32.6 percent in 2019. For diploma graduates, those earning below RM1,500 have increased from 63.6 percent in 2019 to 64.3 percent in 2020.

Hence, it should not come off as a surprise that a sizable number of fresh graduates have turned to doing their own businesses, or even more popular, gig works that offer greater flexibility in terms of time while simultaneously providing them with better earning capabilities!


Having said these, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan recently said that Malaysians would rather become food delivery drivers, allowing them to earn more cash than join the 3D (dirty, dangerous, and difficult) industries, despite the government’s best efforts to put Malaysians first to fulfil shortages of manpower in these industries

The COVID-19 pandemic could have potentially changed the game for development in many communities, and for many workers and companies it seems to already have.

Are we, as a nation – employees, employers, the industry, and policy makers – coming together well and strongly to decidedly make and take short and long term measures to affect our local talent differently depending on their skill sets and businesses’ areas of economic activity?

This is certainly food for thought.

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