27 Jul - 3 min read
The Graduates Statistics 2020 report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) has revealed that Malaysia’s number of unemployed graduates spiked by 22.5%, from 165,200 in 2019 to 202,400 in the following year.
The chief statistician of DOSM, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin also observed that the rise was applicable to both degree and diploma holders, with the former increasing by 22,400 individuals and the latter by 14,800 individuals. This is largely among graduates aged 35 years and above – with graduates being defined as individuals who hold certificates obtained from universities, colleges, polytechnics, or other similarly recognised bodies, with a study duration of at least two years.
“Hence, graduate’s unemployment rate for 2020 went up by 0.5 percentage points to 4.4% as against 3.9% in the preceding year. In addition, more than 75% of unemployed graduates were actively seeking work whereby almost half were unemployed for less than three months,” explained Datuk Seri Uzir.
Datuk Seri Uzir further attributed the increase in graduate unemployment to the unfavourable economic environment in 2020, which consequently affected the overall labour market.
“There were 5.36 million graduates in 2020 (up 4.5% from 5.13 million graduates in 2019). The increase in the number of graduates over the years was concomitant with awareness of the importance of higher education to improve livelihoods. Upon completion of tertiary education, graduates usually aim to secure jobs equivalent to their qualification and subsequently earn higher wages and all the perks that come with it. However, the challenging labour market condition as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in fewer job openings and increased competition,” the chief statistician commented.
Aside from disclosing the statistics on graduate unemployment, DOSM’s Graduates Statistic 2020 report also shared other data, including those related to underemployment (skill- and time-related). Specifically, DOSM noted that 68.8% of 4.35 million employed graduates were categorised under the skilled employee category in 2020 – a dip of 0.8% from 2019. “The decrease was seen in the occupation categories of professional, as well as technician and associate professional,” the report noted.
Meanwhile, employed graduates in the semi-skilled category accounted for 28.9% in 2020 – equivalent to 1.26 million persons – with most of them working in sales and services (11.9%), clerical support (9.6%), as well as craft and related trades (3.4%). This is an increase from 25.6% in 2019.
Finally, the remaining 2.3% of employed graduates fell under the low-skilled occupation category. This is equivalent to 98,100 persons.
In summarising the findings, Datuk Seri Uzir said that graduates could consider exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in this challenging labour market condition as they are actually well-equipped with knowledge, skills, and creativity.
“For those interested to be hired, they can increase their opportunity to be employed by updating and upgrading knowledge and skills to ensure they remain agile and adjust accordingly to the dynamic labour market. In this regards, skills training and entrepreneurship programmes offered by various government agencies may be one of the alternatives to ensure enhanced prospects of employability and income creations for graduates,” the chief statistician added.
Subscribe to our exclusive weekly newsletter and we’ll bring you the week’s highlights of financial news, expert tips, guides, and the latest credit card and e-wallet deals.
Stay tuned for what’s to come next in the personal finance world