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  • Writer's pictureZhang Yaoyuan

Unemployment Rate of Malaysian PhD Graduates Is on the Rise

Writer: Zhang Yaoyuan

Editor: An Ke

(Photo source: Prime Minister’s Department of DOSM Malaysia)

KUALA LUMPUR, 13 May - Unemployment among PhD graduates in Malaysia has risen, raising concerns about a growing number of the country's highly educated workforce.

According to the latest estimate from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), the number of unemployed graduates in Malaysia will increase by 22.5% from 165,200 in 2019 to 202,400 in 2020.

Ahmad Shah, chief statistician at DOSM, said this could be related to the corresponding areas.

“A PhD just means that you are an expert in a niche field that may or may not be useful to the industry that's all, and the limited number of positions available in academia, if you can't find a job in academia, then you must turn to industry yet, experience trumps industry,” Ahmad said.

He added on, “If the field is too niche, it may be difficult to find a job in industry, and you may need to reconsider your decision about whether to pursue graduate studies.”

According to DOSM's statistics on the 2020 graduates, against the background of the increase in the number of graduates, the unemployment rate of the 2020 graduates actually rose from 3.9% in the previous year to 4.4%, an increase of 0.5 percentage points, among graduates without jobs, more than 70% are unemployed.

From the overall total of unemployed graduates, inactively unemployed graduates who were not seeking for jobs accounted for 21.7% or 44,000 persons in 2020.

Jamie Tan, an expert specializing in Human Resource from Asia Recruit Employment Agency, said that "I have met and interviewed many men and women with PhDs, unfortunately, they do not meet industry standards in the following areas: English proficiency, confidence in public speaking, presentation, rigidity, inflexibility, over-reliance on theory and at the same time, they demand a high salary."

“So, before pursuing higher education, keep an open mind and realistically ask yourself, do you really need a PhD? In my experience in the recruiting industry, having a technical qualification or certification relevant to your career is more valuable than having a PhD,” he added.

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