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Key Figures
A QUICK GLANCE AT MALAYSIA
The Malaysian government has introduced a national transformation framework which aims to drive the country toward an advanced nation by 2020. Here's a snapshot of the Malaysian workforce.
TOTAL POPULATION
32.0 MIL PEOPLE
2017
32.4 MIL PEOPLE
2018
Source: Department of Statistics, Malaysia (2018)

LABOUR FORCE 
2017 - 15.0 MIL PEOPLE
9.2 MIL PERSONS
5.8 MIL PERSONS
80.1%
54.7%
2018 - 15.3 MIL PEOPLE
9.3 MIL PERSONS
6.0 MIL PERSONS
80.4%
55.2%

BREAKDOWN OF EMPLOYMENT BY SKILL
HIGH-SKILLED EMPLOYMENT
2017
27.5 %
2018
27.2 %
SEMI-SKILLED EMPLOYMENT
2017

59.6 %

2018
60.4 %
LOW-SKILLED EMPLOYMENT
2017
12.9 %
2018
12.4 %

EDUCATION ATTAINMENT
% of tertiary educated labour force
28.3 %
2017
28.8 %
2018
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
OVERALL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
3.4 %
2017
3.3 %
2018
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
10.8 %
2017
10.9 %
2018
SUMMARY

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) annually to collect information on the structure of the labour force. Based on the population estimates by DOSM, Malaysia’s population grew from 32.0 million people in 2017 to 32.4 million people in 2018.

Of the total population in 2018, 22.4 million people are of working age (defined by DOSM as individual aged between 15 to 64 years old). Out of this number, 15.3 million people are in the labour force (Male: 9.3 million; Female: 6.0 million) while 7.1 million people are out of the labour force (Male: 2.3 million; Female: 4.8 million) for various reasons such as schooling, family responsibilities, disabled and retired. 

This means that the male labour force participation rate (LFPR) is 80.4% (9.3 million out of 11.6 million working age males) while female LFPR is 55.2% (6.0 million out of 10.8 million working age females).

In terms of employment by skill level, Malaysia’s share of high skill employment at 27.2%, which those who are employed in managerial, professional or technician roles. Meanwhile, the share of semi-skill workers is at 60.4% while the share of low-skill employment is at 12.4%. 

On a positive note, the education background of the labour force is improving. The share of tertiary educated labour force has increased from 28.3% in 2017 to 28.8% in 2018. 

Lastly, the unemployment rate declined slightly from 3.4% in 2017 to 3.3% in 2018. This indicates that there were about 504,283 persons who were unemployed in 2018. Youth unemployment, however, rose slightly from 10.8% to 10.9% (293,658 persons).

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