• 4.5




Key drivers

Labour Market Participation (3.8)

The labour market participation rate for 15-24-year olds is forecast to decline slightly this year, meaning there are fewer young people available to join the labour market.



Labour Market Flexibility (5.7)

The restrictiveness of the legal and regulatory framework surrounding the Malaysian labour market has increased relative to the others featured in the report.

Please note: Due to the lack of availability of Malaysian structural unemployment data, we did not calculate the country’s Talent Mismatch score and therefore the Overall Index Score was calculated using six Indicators.

Overall Wage Pressure (4.6)

Real wage growth is forecast to slow this year, following strong growth of 7.7% in 2018. This will ease the pressure on employers’ wage bills.


Education Flexibility


Labour Market Participation


Labour Market Flexibility


Talent Mismatch


Overall Wage Pressure


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Industries


Wage Pressure in High-Skill Occupation


Tom Osborne

Managing Director, Hays Malaysia

View from the Ground

Malaysia has had yet another robust year in the jobs market, owing to the ongoing shortage of in-demand talent across all industries, which is expected to continue into 2020. Candidates from technical backgrounds such as computer and information technology (IT), artificial intelligence (AI), cyber security and data science, have been in high demand as businesses look to advance their technological capabilities. This demand is also supported by the continued growth of Malaysia’s tech industry, which saw many fintech and eCommerce businesses receive funding to help them further service Southeast Asian markets. There is an especially high demand for candidates with strong project management skills, as companies are seeking out agents of change who can lead projects to further digitalise their businesses.

Tom Osborne, Managing Director, Hays Malaysia

Key Skills in Demand

  • Programmers/Software Engineers
  • Data Scientists/Analysts/Engineers
  • Financial Technology Specialists
  • Cyber Security ICT Engineers
  • Mobile App Developers

Market Insight

Strong household spending and a temporary pick-up in export growth, notably of electronics, underpinned another year of robust GDP growth in Malaysia during 2018, as the economy grew by 4.6%. Looking forward, the economy faces rising external headwinds, in part due to falling Chinese demand for Malaysian exports, low oil prices lowering petroleum export earnings, and a tightening of global financial conditions. Growth is expected to average 4% over the coming five years.

In the labour market, female labour market participation has risen sharply. The participation rate for females was 50.9% in 2018, up from 43.1% in 2008, marking a decade of strong growth. If this trend continues, it will add to the availability of skilled labour over the next decade. This is already forecast to rise, as the UN predicts the population of working age will increase by 10.8% or 2.4 million between 2018 and 2028.

Please note: Due to the lack of availability of Malaysian structural unemployment data, we did not calculate the country’s Talent Mismatch score and therefore the overall Index score was calculated using six indicators.