Despite the many obstacles that Malaysia is currently facing regarding the transformation of its workforce, HR Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem remains optimistic that the country is well on track to hitting its target of 35% skilled workers in the workforce by 2020.
“In 2015, we raised it to 28% and in 2016, the number increased to 31%,” he told local media at the recent launch of the Labour Market Information Data Warehouse (LMIDW) project.
“With the increase, I’m very positive that our target can be achieved.”
As previously covered in HRM Magazine’s Malaysia country report, achieving those labour numbers is tied closely with the government’s goal of also attaining high-income status by 2020.
This goal, encompassing economic, political, and social development was formalised as “Vision 2020” in 1991 and the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 represents what current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak says is the country’s “final leg” of that long race to “enter the arena of developed nations”.
But Riot had himself noted last year that the skilled talent shortage in Malaysia is proving a major roadblock to those larger economic targets.
So what has changed since then for the favourable projection revision? And perhaps more importantly, will those numbers mean much for the government’s high-income target?
Although the Malaysian education ministry has placed greater emphasis on technical and vocational education and training, institutions are still struggling to produce graduates with the right skill sets to meet the requirements in those parts of the economy.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan also noted that most lower-skilled workers are more concerned about keeping their current jobs than looking to upskill to higher-paid job categories.
This lack of motivation to undergo training means they are also increasingly under both real and perceived pressure from immigrant labour, who are willing and able to work for lower wages. There are currently about 3.6 million foreign workers in Malaysia, significantly more than in previous decades.
This skills conundrum is further complicated by a series of other deep-rooted problems.
Data from the government-owned TalentCorp agency, for example, indicates a persistent movement of skills away from Malaysia. Some 2% of tertiary-educated aged 25 and above are now living and working outside of the country, generally because of higher salaries and improved career prospects.
As the labour market is still in transition, it will also be a few more years before a big economic impact can take place.
But Riot’s new-found optimism stems from his faith in initiatives like the LMIDW project, which he believes holds the key to solving the country’s employment issues.
He said the data warehouse will be able to analyse the Malaysia’s labour market, and even track and store comprehensive data of the country’s workforce.
“This will be able to maintain or reduce the country’s unemployment rate at 3.5%,” he said.
“The data will also reduce dependency on foreign workforce and issues of job mismatch.”
Earlier this year, Riot attributed the progress to efforts and initiatives implemented by the Human Resource Development Fund. This includes the 1MalaysiaGRIP programme, which he says “has been successful” in encouraging Malaysian employees to take up new skills.
With 2020 less than three years away, the clock is ticking fast and Malaysia still has to pick up the pace if Riot’s words are to be realised.
Author: – 20 Jul 2017
Comment: 35% skilled workers in the workforce by 2020, believe this includes those that obtain their Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM) via the Pengiktirafan Pencapaian Terdahulu (PPT) method. It’s great that those truly skilled & experienced personnels can obtain their SKM via PPT. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples in the industry where they ‘help, by charging exorbitant fees, even unqualified personnels to obtain the SKM‘.
You would have guess it right how these so called consultants & agents got it done 🙁