More female graduates in Malaysia find employment

The unemployment rate gap with men has been narrowed for a third straight year but differences remain for jobs requiring higher level degrees.
By: | August 1, 2022

The overall jobless rate for 2.476 million women graduates in Malaysia declined to 4.3% in 2021, versus 4.0% for men. 

That is a huge improvement from 2018, when female employment was a full percentage point lower than males. Still, much of the shrinkage has been based on lower-level diploma jobs, according to data released by the Department of Statistics. 

Female degree holders, who typically pass higher entry requirements and complete more course work than diploma holders, registered a jobless rate of almost 5.0% in 2021, nearly 2 percentage points higher than their male counterparts. 

The reverse was true for female diploma holders, who saw a 3.5% jobless rate last year, compared to male unemployment at 5.0%. 

Malaysia’s overall unemployment rate dipped to 3.9% in May, according to the latest figures, thanks to an increase in economic activity after reopening of international borders in April. 

The rate has fallen below 4.0% for the first time since the pandemic struck in early 2020, and is comparable to 3.8% in the UK and 3.5% in Australia. 

READ: Some companies in Malaysia defy minimum wage rule

The country has also moved to encourage women to enter the workforce. Female labour force participation grew to 83% in 2021, with men dropping to 87% from more than 88% previously, according to Bloomberg.