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What you need to know about the current job market in Malaysia

by on July 10, 2017 | Top Stories

The Critical Occupations List 2016/2017 sheds some light on what you need to know about the jobs that are in demand and the economic sectors which need them most.

What are critical occupations?

Critical occupations in the Critical Occupations List are jobs that are in demand in Malaysia. They are also jobs that are currently experiencing shortages by specific economic sectors, where some industries may be facing difficulty in filling up these positions.

To ensure that Malaysia is equipped with the skills needed in an internationally competitive economy, the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), was established under the 11th Malaysia Plan to facilitate policy formulation and mitigate skills mismatches within the labour market.

Jointly led by Talent Corporation (TalentCorp), and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA), the principal task of the CSC is to develop the Critical Occupations List (COL). The COL outlines the jobs most in demand in key sectors of the economy, in particular industries which may be facing shortages or difficulties in hiring. The COL also aims to provide the data and input needed to formulate and implement human resources management and development policy measures, such as those related to reskilling and upskilling, scholarships, higher education, TVET, and immigration.


The second COL has just been released—here are the key findings in the 2016/2017 COL:
Percentage share of labour force with tertiary education:
Year Percentage
2013 24.7%
2014 26.7%
2015 27.6%

Source: Labour Force Surveys, Department of Statistics, Malaysia

Number of critical occupations in 2015/2016 COL Number of critical occupations in 2016/2017 COL
42 48
11 occupations no longer critical in 2016/2017 17 new occupations in 2016/2017 COL
  • Civil Engineers
  • Chemical Engineers
  • Personnel and Career Professionals
  • Advertising and Marketing Professionals
  • Lawyers
  • Environmental and Occupational Health Inspectors and Associates
  • Securities and Finance Dealers and Brokers
  • Credit and Loans Officers
  • Accounting Associate Professionals
  • ICT User Support Technicians
  • Managing Directors and Chief Executives
  • Human Resource Managers
  • Sales and Marketing Managers
  • Advertising and Public Relations Managers
  • Manufacturing Managers
  • Mining Managers
  • Supply, Distribution and Related Managers
  • Building Architects
  • Cartographers and Surveyors
  • Ships Engineers
  • Aircraft Pilots and Related Professionals
  • University and Higher Education Professional Teachers
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sales Professionals
  • Film, Stage and Related Directors and Producers
  • Aircraft Technicians
  • Valuers and Loss Assessors
  • Insurance Underwriter
New sectors added in 2016/2017 COL Sector with the most number of critical occupations
  • Petrochemicals
  • Education
  • Medical Devices
  • Aerospac
  • The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) & Global Business
  • Services (GBS) Sector has 23
  • occupations listed as criticalrs
  • Insurance Underwriter
Top 3 largest share of employed workers* Top 3 sectors with highest retrenchment in 2016
  • 60% in services sector
  • 16.5% in manufacturing
  • 12.5% in agriculture


*2015 data

Source: Labour Force Surveys, Department of Statistics, Malaysia

  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Finance and insurance

Professional occupations like medical specialists, accountants,
engineers, architects, clinical psychiatrists, psychologists,
pharmacists and dentists are still much needed in the country.

Employers value soft skills more than work experience.

For a full list of 48 critical occupations, read “The most sought-after jobs in Malaysia 2016/2017”.


Sources for this article include:

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