The Malaysian Job Market: Facts & Figures

The Malaysian Job Market: Facts & Figures

Jaideep Patel wears his detective cloak and investigates the truth about the current job market in Malaysia.

“The economy is bad.”

“There are no jobs.”

“No company will hire you.”

Which of the above statements are true? As a fresh grad, it’s best to take the time to really understand what the job market is like before giving up on finding the right job. Job hunting has never been an easy exercise: it tests your determination, patience and communication skills. But if you are armed with the cold, hard facts you will realise that there is always a silver lining behind those gloomy clouds.

Understanding the unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is a measurement of the number of people who are actively  looking for a job but can’t find any. This is indicated by a percentage, which is tallied by the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

The website Trading Economics summarises the statistics gathered by the Department of Statistics Malaysia in simple, easy-to-refer charts and tables. Click here if you want to view these.

Definition of unemployment

According to the International Labour Organisation the first definition of unemployment covers people who meet all of the criteria below:

  • out of work
  • want a job
  • have actively sought work in the previous four weeks
  • are available to start work within the next fortnight.

The second definition of unemployment covers people who meet the following requirements:

  • out of work
  • have accepted a job that they are waiting to start in the next fortnight.

Key statistics

In a nutshell, here are some important figures pertaining the unemployment rate in Malaysia:

Record high unemployment rate
4.5% (March 1999)

Record low unemployment rate
2.7% (August 2012)

Current unemployment rate (data accurate as of November 2015)

*The unemployment rate in Malaysia averaged at 3.25% from 1998-2015.

In order to make sense of the percentages, and to look at the bigger picture of the unemployment rate, you can compare the total number of unemployed persons vs total number of employed persons. In November 2015 – where the latest available data is gathered from – there was a total of 453,300 unemployed persons compared to 13,899,000 employed persons.