THE rate of employee layoffs Malaysia has plunged by half in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year, although experts earlier said the job market for 2018 looked to be bleak.
Earlier this month Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran the number of employees who faced retrenchment between Jan 1 to Sept 30 this year plunged to 15,903 from 31,945 year-on-year, citing statistics from the labour department.
“This number is much lower compared to the same period in 2017, which saw 31,945 workers laid off,” he said, as quoted by the New Straits Times.
“(Nevertheless) the government is introducing the Workers Insurance System (SIP) beginning Jan 1 (which acts) as a social safety net for those who lose their jobs,” he said today.
Kulasegaran was responding to a parliamentary question on unemployment in the country, especially among fresh graduates.
He said the government has implemented several initiatives, including improving the government’s job-seeking portal called Jobs Malaysia.
The minister added there 137,404 students graduated from higher education institutions in Malaysia and abroad last year, a 4.4 per cent increase from the 131,600 graduates in 2016.
Last week, Kulesegaran pointed out that a total of 21,532 people lost their jobs nationwide from Jan 1 to Dec 7 this year.
“A significant number, 7,755 workers who lost their jobs are those from the top three high paying jobs namely managers, professionals and technicians besides associate professionals that require diplomas and degrees for entry qualification,” he said.
“These three categories are limited and they also have to compete with fresh graduates.”
Experts earlier asked graduates with no job experience to brace for a tough time looking for a job as the job market in 2018 was “expected to be bleak.”
Companies, they said, will be cautious about creating new positions and fresh graduates will either have to settle for low paying jobs or drive for ride-hailing services or run food-truck businesses, according to Free Malaysia Today.
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) director Shamsuddin Bardan was quoted as saying companies were not expected to create new positions due to additional operating costs.
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“You can expect companies to restructure next year due to the additional costs,” he said.
“Local companies will also be feeling the pinch of strict supply chain policies where companies must now comply with international conventions and protocols on foreign workers and provide improved accommodation, wages and other benefits.”
Shamsuddin said, however, that companies would likely new members of the workforce to replace the 100,000 employees who turned 60.
“This is the first batch who was supposed to retire in 2013, but due to the five-year extension, they will retire next year,” he said.
“This will give jobs to about 100,000 fresh graduates.”