KUALA LUMPUR | A total of 4.25 million graduates in Malaysia were employed in 2019, registering a 6.9 increase from the year before where only 3.97 million graduates were gainfully employed.

Disclosing this today, the Statistics Department in its annual report also stated that there were 5.29 million graduates who made up 21.3 per cent of the working age population last year.

Chief Statistician Datuk Sri Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin said nine out 10 graduates were in the workforce with a rate of 83.5 per cent or 4.4 million people in 2019.

The report revealed that workforce participation among graduates dropped by 0.1 percentage point, or around 50,000 lower than in 2018, to 83.5 per cent.

This highlighted the fact that the number of local graduates joining the workforce had already declined last year, way before the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The number of graduates outside the labour force in 2019 increased by 7.6 per cent to 869,800, accounting for 16.5 per cent of the overall number of graduates.

Uzir also said that while the majority of graduates were women, the labour force participation rate for women was lower at 79.8 per cent, compared to male graduates rate at 87.7 per cent.

He also said the unemployment rate among graduates was still at 3.9 per cent with 170,300 of them having no jobs at the time. The increase of around 300,000 graduates last year compared could have helped offset the rate.

“Graduates who were actively seeking work made up 74.8 per cent (127,000 persons). Out of this number, more than 80 per cent were unemployed for less than six months whereas 8.1 per cent were unemployed for 12 months and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Uzir said that the Salaries and Wages Survey 2019 conducted by department found that median monthly income of graduates with a full-time equivalent principal occupation was RM4,371 whereas in 2018, it was RM3,936.

“Employed graduates in skilled categories earned RM5,175 while semi-skilled category received RM2,300.”

The department, in its Quarterly Employment Statistics report, also revealed that the rate of vacancies for skilled jobs in formal private sector establishments in 2019 was merely 2.3 per cent, with only 48,300 jobs available.

“This is very much lower against the number of graduates produced annually which was in the range of 300,000 persons. Thus, alternatives that can be explored to support the number of new graduates entering the market are among others entrepreneurship. This can be done by leveraging on the continuous revolution of digital platforms.”

Uzir also said that most graduates were employed in the skilled category, which accounted for 73.3 per cent or 3.11 million people in total.

The semi-skilled categories represented 25.6 per cent or 1.09 million people in 2019.

In terms of economic activity, 79.6 per cent of graduates were in the Services sector with a total of 3.38 million persons. This was followed by Manufacturing (538,600 persons), Construction (226,100 persons), Agriculture (57,600 persons) and Mining & quarrying (43,200 persons).