DOSM data

The rate of time-related underemployment dropped 0.5 percentage points to 1.9%. Meanwhile, skill-related underemployment increased marginally to 37.5%.

Department of Statistics, Malaysia (DOSM) has shared findings of the Labour Market Review, Fourth Quarter 2021, with the highlight that the local labour market regained momentum towards recovery in Q4 2021, as seen in the surging demand for labour as well as the lowest unemployment rate since the arrival of the pandemic to the nation.

Below, we've pulled out some of the key highlights and data points from the report relevant to employers and business owners.
All data pertains to Malaysia's labour market in Q4 2021.

Trend 1: The number of employed persons went up by 1.8% to 15.44mn 

This meant the employment-to-population ratio edged up to 65.7%. As the unemployment rate slipped 0.5 percentage points to 4.3%, Malaysia registered the lowest rate since the public health crisis whereby the number of unemployed persons lessened to 694,400.

The report shared: "As a whole, even though Malaysia’s labour market strengthened in Q4 2021 anchored by the NRP, continuous supports and interventions are still pertinent to ensure a smooth labour market recovery momentum is maintained."

Trend 2: With most states moving to Phase 4 of NRP, the number of employed persons working less than 30 hours per week decreased by 26.2% yoy

Accordingly, the rate of time-related underemployment dropped 0.5 percentage points to 1.9%. Meanwhile, skill-related underemployment increased marginally to 37.5%.

Employment in semi-skilled category made up the largest share at 59.9%. The number of employed persons in this category soared 4.3% to 9.24mn persons, largely attributed to clerical support workers. Meanwhile, the low-skilled category which encompassed 12.3% of employment went up by 9.2% to 1.90mn persons. Employed persons in the skilled category which comprised 27.8% of the workforce dropped 5.8%, as against Q4 2020.

Trend 3: Jobs grew 0.9% yoy to record 8.531mn jobs during Q4 2021

Filled jobs which comprised 97.8%, surged 0.8% year-on-year to record 8.347mn. Meanwhile open jobs, as reflected by the number of vacancies rose by 4.4% to 183,600 vacancies during the same quarter.

In terms of demand for jobs by skill level in Q4 2021, the number of jobs went up for skilled and semi-skilled categories while the number of low-skilled jobs dropped yoy. However, all three skill categories posted increases compared to the previous quarter.

The skilled category comprised 24.7% of jobs in Q4 2021, equivalent to 2.110mn jobs. This category, which encompasses managers, professionals, technicians and associates, edged up by 2.1 per cent (+44,400) compared to Q4 2020. Correspondingly, the number of filled jobs in the skilled category grew by 2.1% (+42,000) registering 2.067mn filled jobs. In addition, the number of skilled job vacancies also surged by 5.9%, accounting for 42,900. Hence, the rate of filled jobs for the skilled category was 98%, and a vacancy rate of 2%.

The majority of jobs were in the semi-skilled category, comprising a share of 62.3% in Q4 2021. The occupations in this category include:

  • Clerical support workers,
  • Service and sales workers,
  • Skilled agricultural, forestry, livestock and fishery workers,
  • Craft and related trades workers, and
  • Plant and machine operators and assemblers.

During the quarter, the number of semi-skilled jobs rose by 0.6% (+33,000 thousand) compared to Q4 2020 to 5.312mn jobs. The number of filled jobs in the semi-skilled category increased 0.6% year-on-year to 5.209mn; hence
encompassing 98.1% of jobs.  

Trend 4: Labour productivity per employee turned around by 1.7%, registering the level of RM24,006 per person

During the same period, total hours worked surged 2.3% to 8.78bn hours following resumption of more businesses. Thus, labour productivity per hour worked grew 1.3% after declining for the previous two quarters.

Breaking down the performance of labour productivity by economic sector in Q4 2021, there was positive growth for agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors, while construction and mining & quarrying sectors registered a decline. Labour productivity per employee in the agriculture sector grew 2.9% year-on-year after declining 2.6% in the previous quarter. The manufacturing sector registered a 5.3% rise in labour productivity per employee during Q4 2021 after contracting 3.5% in the previous quarter. Increases were observed in all sub-sectors except for textiles, wearing apparel and leather products which dropped by 2.1%.

The sub-sector with the highest growth of value added per employee was electrical, electronic and optical products at 11.6%. Meanwhile, value added per hour worked in manufacturing sector strengthened by 4.6% (Q3 2021: 2.3%). Similarly, electrical, electronic and optical products recorded the highest increase of value added per hour work during the quarter at 9.8%.

The performance of labour productivity for the services sectors rebounded after recording negative growth for both measures of labour productivity per employee and labour productivity per hour worked in Q3 2021. Value added per employment posted a marginal increase of 1.0% compared to a decline of 6.2% in the previous quarter. Labour productivity measured as value added per hour worked also rose slightly by 0.7% compared to negative 1.8% qoq.

Lead image / DOSM

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