MALAYSIA Critical Occupations List
Identifying Malaysia’s Talent Shortages
The Malaysia Critical Occupations List (MyCOL) is a set of occupations in demand that identifies the skills imbalance across 18 economic sectors in Malaysia. It aims to be the primary instrument to promote better coordination of human capital policies aimed at attracting, nurturing and retaining talent.
Collated on an annual basis by the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), led by TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) , the MyCOL was developed based on recommended international practices. Its compilation process is based on regular consultations with the World Bank.

Because the MyCOL is developed with the data from employers, it provides a big picture of the skills and occupations that are in demand within the industries. It also gives you a better idea of the occupations that will be prioritised by policymakers, especially in the aspects of immigration, education and upskilling opportunities.

MyCOL will continue to expand to create a comprehensive map of Malaysia’s most demanded current and future skills and talent towards Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0. The expansion of MyCOL includes the development of Malaysia National Skills Registry (MyNSR) that act as a reference for Malaysia skills standards.

How the COL is created and utilised
facts & figures
Pilot COL 2015/2016 published
MYCOL 2022/2023

The Seventh Edition


Deep Dive Economic sector for MyNSR covered in MyCOL 2022/2023


Critical Occupations comprising of High-Skilled, Semi-Skilled, and TVET Occupations

An official channel to identify the skills and jobs most in demand, specific areas of talent needs and issues.
A platform for identifying future occupations arising from the impact of disruptive innovative technologies.
Encourage employers to invest further in developing sought-after skills.
Enhance coordination of human capital development policies.

Employers, Industry & Academia Partners 

What is the application process like?
Step 1:  Apply by submitting your application on-line
Step 2:  TalentCorp connects applicants to employers
Step 3:  Employers begin selection process. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview (phone/video conference)
Step 4:  Employers will update successful applicants directly, and provide an offer letter
Step 5:  Successful applicants are required to update TalentCorp at
How long does the application process take? 
Most applications will sit with us for up to two (2) weeks for our internal screening process. From there, suitable applicants will be matched to employers. The entire selection process may take up to one (1) month or more, subject to the employers’ requirements.
If my student visa expires before the start of internship, can I still apply?
You need to be on your student visa while undertaking MyASEAN Internship. Otherwise, TalentCorp will coordinate with the potential employer(s) on an application for a Professional Visit Pass (PVP). Please note that you are not able to undertake this internship with a tourist visa.
My university requires a compulsory 6 months of internship in order for me to graduate. Can I still apply for MyASEAN Internship? 
Yes, however please inform the employers on your compulsory internship period if you are shortlisted.
When is the closing date for application? 
Currently there is no fixed closing date, as different employers have different intake periods. However you are encouraged to apply as early as possible, for a higher chance to be shortlisted. 
Help! I submitted wrong information in my application. 
Please e-mail us at with the correct information, however do note that rectification may take up to one (1) week. 
What is the COL used for?
The COL will be used to refine human-capital related public policies, such as: upskilling, scholarship, higher education, immigration, and technical vocational education and training (TVET). It is currently being used for several policies that are related to human capital: 
  • TalentCorp’s Returning Expert Programme (REP) and Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) incorporates the COL as one of the key approval criteria for applications.
  • The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) uses the COL as a reference to review new programmes as proposed by public institutions of higher education. 
 It has also been used as a reference on online platforms, including (but not limited to) JobStreet Malaysia,, LinkedIn, EduAdvisor, The Edge Malaysia and Leaderonomics.
How often is the COL updated?
The COL is updated once every year. The COL 2017/2018 list was released on 6th February 2018. The COL 2018/2019 list will be available in December 2018.
How are the occupations classified in the COL and what are the occupations that the COL covers?
The occupations are classified based on the Malaysia Standard Classification of Occupations (MASCO). MASCO is a national standard for classifying occupations in Malaysia, which was developed based on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO).

The COL 2017/2018 covers these high-skilled and semi-skilled occupations including TVET (based on MASCO 2013 codes):

  • MASCO 1 – Managers
  • MASCO 2 - Professionals
  • MASCO 3 - Technicians and Associate Professionals
  • MASCO 4 - Clerical Support Workers
  • MASCO 5 - Service and Sales Workers
  • MASCO 6 - Skilled Agricultural, Forestry, Livestock and Fisheries Workers
  • MASCO 7 - Craft and Related Trades Workers; and
  • MASCO 8 - Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers 

Why doesn’t the COL provide specific numbers, e.g. how many engineers will we need in the next five years?
Based on the experiences of advanced economies, attempts to predict the exact demand of occupations are likely to be inaccurate, because they are based on many assumptions. The COL aims to suggest which occupations will have a labour shortage, and not on the extent of the shortage.

Example: while many oil and gas firms forecast a large need for skilled workers in the upstream sector, the unexpected fall in oil prices and uncertain timing of its persistence have led companies to freeze hiring; some have even retrenched workers. Forecasts such as “we need 30,000 engineers by 2020” might be inaccurate and result in an oversupply of labour (leading to problems such as graduate unemployment). 

Countries such as the UK, Australia, and Canada have also adopted a similar approach.
Why doesn’t the COL rank occupations by how critical they are (in terms of the acuteness of shortages/criticalness)?
The COL suggests which occupations appears to be in demand and are strategic to the Malaysian economy. While the COL indicates which occupations received more evidence, it does not compare how critical each occupation in relation to one another. The decision on the criticalness of each occupation is subjective to the users of the COL.
How do companies benefit from the COL?
Companies can give input to the COL via the Call for Evidence (CFE) survey, to share their key talent needs and hiring challenges. Based on the COL, TalentCorp can drive for meaningful interventions that are reflective of industry’s talent needs. 

 The COL can be used as a reference to guide relevant programmes. For example, TalentCorp’s REP and RP-T gives more consideration for applicants working in a critical occupation. This benefits companies who hire talents through TalentCorp’s initiatives.
How does the COL benefit talent?
Directly: Companies, industry associations/regulators, policy makers and the general public can use the COL as a reference to understand the trends of different occupations in Malaysia. 

Indirectly: The COL is used as a reference to ensure that human capital related initiatives/policies will better target industry talent needs. For example, new courses introduced at universities will go through a committee panel that uses the COL to assess whether the courses will lead to positive employment outcomes for university graduates.
Does the COL take into account issues of the global economy, current government interventions, and other issues like government mega projects (e.g.: Malaysia High Speed Rail, East Coast Rail)?
Yes. The COL draws data from national surveys and companies feedback. Any issue that influences employers’ hiring policies will therefore also be reflected in the COL results. Such issues include (but not limited to) the general state of economy in the industry, government regulations, and national development plans.
Does the COL also cover future jobs in demand?
The COL provides information on the skills that employers need in future. 

In the CFE survey, employers are asked whether they plan to introduce new production techniques in future, and if they expect to expand their workforce in specific occupations. Bottom-up evidence on future labour shortage is used together with top-down evidence to decide if an occupation should be included in the COL, and also to identify emerging trends in future skills needed in the economy. However, the COL does not differentiate between short-term need and long-term need for occupations – this is why the COL is updated every year, to provide constant updates.

If an occupation appears in the COL for several years, it suggests a long-term demand for this occupation. Longer-term interventions could be necessary (e.g. education and training policies). Conversely, if an occupation appears in the COL for the first time, shorter-term measures could be more appropriate (e.g. migration policies, short-term training) in addressing its shortage
What will the COL focus on in the future?
In 2018, the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), led by the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) and TalentCorp, will also provide information on the policies that are most sensible for any given COL occupation (e.g. migration, TVET, etc.), and how each occupation will be affected by digitisation, automation, and Industry 4.0. This profiling will be supported by real-time labour market information on skills, in order to provide an updated picture on vacancies, the supply of and demand for skills, and insight into the knowledge and skills that are in demand.
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