PETALING JAYA (July 27): The number of unemployed graduates in Malaysia rose 22.5% last year to 202,400 compared to 165,200 in 2019, based on the latest report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) today.
According to DOSM chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidi, the unfavourable economic environment in 2020 and challenging labour market are the main reason for the increase of unemployed graduates.
He added that there were 5.36 million recorded graduates in 2020.
DOSM's Graduate Statistics 2020 report defined graduates as individuals with the highest certificate obtained from universities, colleges, polytechnics, recognised bodies or equivalent, with the study duration of at least two years.
"The increase in the number of graduates over the years is concomitant with the awareness of the importance of higher education to improve livelihood. 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 pandemic has resulted in fewer job openings and increased competition," he said in a media statement today.
Based on the report, the rise of unemployment graduates was observed for both degree (+22,400) and diploma holders (+14,800), mainly among graduates aged 35 and over.
"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," said Mohd Uzir.
Separately, in terms of employed graduates, among the 4.35 million employed graduates in 2020, 68.8% were in the skilled occupation category, down 0.8% from 2019.
"The decrease was seen in the occupation categories of professional, as well as technician and associate professional," Mohd Uzir noted.
On the other hand, the semi-skilled category gained 19.3% of employed graduates, particularly in the occupation categories of service and sales workers, and plant and machine operators and assemblers. Hence, the category saw an increase to 28.9% in 2020 compared to 25.6% in 2019.
Some 2.3% of employed graduates were part of the low-skilled category. In terms of the economic sector, more than 75% or 3.37 million graduates were employed in the services sector, followed by 14.6% in the manufacturing sector in 2020.
Meanwhile, there were 800,900 graduates that were not part of the labour force in 2020, of which 39.4% of them were due to housework or family responsibility.
This group may be able to contribute to the labour market with their skills and qualifications. The number of graduates outside the labour force in 2020 declined for the first time since it was reported, with a fall of 5.1% as against a growth of 6.3% in 2019.
The larger decline was observed among females especially in the housework or family responsibility and the "not interested or just completed study" categories.
"It was observed that more female graduates entered the labour force in 2020 as indicated by the higher increase of labour force participation rate by 2.1 percentage points to record 82% (2019: 79.8%)," said Mohd Uzir.
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