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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
31.7 MIL PEOPLE
2016
32.0 MIL PEOPLE
2017
Source: Population Estimates, Department of Statistics, Malaysia (2016)

LABOUR FORCE 
2016 - 14.7 MIL PEOPLE
9.0 MIL PERSONS
5.7 MIL PERSONS
80.6%
54.1%
2017 - 15.0 MIL PEOPLE
9.2 MIL PERSONS
5.8 MIL PERSONS
80.2%
54.3%

BREAKDOWN OF EMPLOYMENT BY SKILL
HIGH-SKILLED EMPLOYMENT
2016
27.3 %
2017
27.5 %
SEMI-SKILLED EMPLOYMENT
2016

59.7 %

2017
59.7 %
LOW-SKILLED EMPLOYMENT
2016
13.0 %
2017
12.8 %

EDUCATION ATTAINMENT
% of tertiary educated labour force
27.7 %
2016
28.3 %
2017
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
OVERALL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
3.4 %
2016
3.4 %
2017
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
10.5 %
2016
10.8 %
2017
SUMMARY
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) to collect information on the structure of the labour force. Based on the population estimates by DOSM, Malaysia’s population grew from 31.7 million people in 2016 to 32.0 million people in 2017.

Of the total population in 2017, 22.1 million people are of working age (defined by DOSM as individual aged between 15 to 64 years old). Out of this number, 15.0 million people are in the labour force (Male: 9.2 million; Female: 5.8 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 80.1% (9.2 million out of 11.5 million working age males) while female LFPR is 54.7% (5.8 million out of 10.6 million working age females). 

In terms of employment by skill level, Malaysia’s share of high skill employment increased by 0.2 percentage points to 27.5% compared to the previous year. This means that 27.5% of those employed in Malaysia are in managerial, professional or technician roles. Meanwhile, the share of semi-skill workers is at 59.7% while the share of low-skill employment is at 12.8%

On a positive note, the education background of the labour force is improving. The share of tertiary educated labour force has increased marginally from 27.7% in 2017 to 28.3% in 2018. 

Lastly, the unemployment rate remains constant, at 3.4%. This indicates that there were about 502,600 persons who were unemployed in 2017. Youth unemployment, however, increased slightly from 10.5% to 10.8% (283,400 persons).


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