Critical Occupations List (COL) 2018/2019 – Understanding the Job Shortage So that You Can Choose the Right Course for Future Jobs
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What are the critical occupations in Malaysia? As the economy remains on a steady growth path, vacancies for high-skilled workers will continue to grow. To ensure a productive workforce, Malaysia must ensure a high-quality flow of labour supply to fill these jobs to avoid an ever-growing skills imbalance.
The Critical Occupations List (COL) identifies the jobs in Malaysia most in demand in key sectors of the economy, and for which industries may be facing shortages or difficulties in hiring. It is developed by the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), which is jointly led by TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA).
EduSpiral Consultant Services provides free advise to students after SPM, O-Levels, STPM, A-Levels, UEC, and Pre-University to guide them in choosing the right course and university to study so that they can have a successful career. The aim for EduSpiral Consultant Services in sharing this article is to help students in selecting their course of study and career paths based on areas in demand.
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Malaysia’s Top 59 Jobs in Demand According to Critical Occupations List (COL) 2018/2019
The aim of education is to secure a job in the future that has demand and a high salary. This will ensure that you will have job security and stable income to be able to sustain your lifestyle and more importantly to take care of your family.
According to the Critical Occupations List, what’s in demand are communication skills, English language proficiency and problem solving expertise. The country is also in need of more electric and electronic engineers, early childhood educators, finance managers, chemists, manufacturing professionals and software developers among others.
The 2018/2019 Critical Occupations List (COL) highlights 59 middle- and high-skilled occupations that are sought-after, strategic and in high demand. The COL keeps abreast of changing labour market demands associated with new technologies, automation and Industry 4.0. It was developed by agencies under the Human Resources Ministry and in collaboration with the World Bank. On Sept 12, the World Bank released its “Monitoring Occupational Shortages: Lessons from Malaysia’s Critical Occupations List” report, a case study of the COL.
The Critical Occupations List (COL) is a set of occupations in demand that identifies the skills imbalance across 18 economic sectors in Malaysia. It aims to be the primary instrument to promote better coordination of human capital policies aimed at attracting, nurturing and retaining talent.
Collated on an annual basis by the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), led by TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) under the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR), the COL was developed based on recommended international practices. Its compilation process is based on regular consultations with the World Bank.
Because the COL is developed with the data from employers, it provides a big picture of the skills and occupations that are in demand within the industries. It also gives you a better idea of the occupations that will be prioritised by policymakers, especially in the aspects of immigration, education and upskilling opportunities.
COL will continue to expand to create a comprehensive map of Malaysia’s most demanded current and future skills and talent towards Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0.
The report covers 18 economic sectors:
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
- Mining and Quarrying
- Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply
- Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities
- Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
- Transportation and Storage
- Accommodation and Food Service Activities
- Information and Communication
- Financial and Insurance/Takaful Activities
- Real Estate Activities
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
- Administrative and Support Service Activities
- Human Health and Social Work Activities
- Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
- Other Service Activities
What is a Critical Occupation?
Occupations are considered critical if they are skilled, sought-after, and strategic. The Critical Occupations List is primarily concerned with identifying shortages in occupations that are associated with Malaysia’s growing knowledge-based economy. To accomplish this, the COL is focused on identifying occupations that are skilled. The COL is also interested in determining whether there are mismatches between employers’ demand for certain occupations and the supply of the skills associated with these occupations.
As a result, the COL seeks to identify shortages in occupations that are sought-after by employers. Finally, the COL is designed to be a tool to help policymakers make decisions. Thus, even after identifying shortages in skilled occupations an occupation is only considered to be critical if filling that occupational shortage is consistent with Malaysia’s strategic economic development objectives.
The 2018/2019 Critical Occupations List (COL) – 59 Jobs in Demand in Malaysia
MASCO code MASCO title
- 1121 Managing Directors and Chief Executives
- 1211 Finance Managers
- 1212 Human Resource Managers
- 1213 Policy and Planning Managers
- 1214 Business Services Managers
- 1219 Business Services and Administration Managers Not Elsewhere Classified
- 1221 Sales and Marketing Managers
- 1222 Advertising and Public Relations Managers
- 1223 Research and Development Managers
- 1321 Manufacturing Managers
- 1323 Construction Managers
- 1511 Information and Communications Technology Managers
- 2113 Chemists
- 2114 Geologists and Geophysicists
- 2121 Mathematicians, Actuaries and Statisticians
- 2141 Industrial and Production Engineers
- 2142 Civil Engineers
- 2144 Mechanical Engineers
- 2145 Chemical Engineers
- 2146 Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Related Professionals
- 2149 Engineering Professionals (Excluding Electrotechnology) Not Elsewhere Classified
- 2151 Electrical Engineers
- 2152 Electronic Engineers
- 2166 Graphic and Multimedia Designers
- 2173 Aircraft Pilots and Related Professionals
- 2182 Manufacturing Professionals
- 2263 Environmental and Occupational Health and Hygiene Professionals
- 2311 University and Higher Education Professional Teachers
- 2342 Early Childhood Educators
- 2411 Accountants
- 2412 Financial and Investment Advisers
- 2413 Financial Analysts
- 2431 Advertising and Marketing Professionals
- 2511 Systems Analysts
- 2512 Software Developers
- 2514 Applications Programmers
- 2519 Software and Applications Developers and Analysts Not Elsewhere Classified
- 2522 Systems Administrators
- 2523 Computer Network Professionals
- 2529 Database and Network Professionals Not Elsewhere Classified
- 3112 Civil Engineering Technicians
- 3113 Electrical Engineering Technicians
- 3115 Mechanical Engineering Technicians
- 3119 Physical and Engineering Science Technicians Not Elsewhere Classified
- 3122 Manufacturing Supervisors
- 3129 Other Supervisor Not Elsewhere Classified
- 3322 Commercial Sales Agents
- 3641 Chefs
- 4224 Receptionists
- 7212 Welders and Flame Cutters
- 7233 Agricultural and Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Repairers
- 7412 Electrical Mechanics and Fitters
- 7512 Bakers, Pastry, Pasta and Confectionery Makers
- 7621 Tailors, Dressmakers, Furriers and Hatters
- 8141 Rubber Products Machine Operators
- 8182 Steam Engine and Boiler Operators
- 8189 Stationary Plant and Machine Operators Not Elsewhere Classified
- 8332 Heavy Truck and Lorry Drivers
- 8341 Mobile Farm and Forestry Plant Operators
What is the COL used for?
The COL will be used to refine human-capital related public policies, such as: upskilling, scholarship, higher education, immigration, and technical vocational education and training (TVET). It is currently being used for several policies that are related to human capital:
TalentCorp’s Returning Expert Programme (REP) and Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) incorporates the COL as one of the key approval criteria for applications.
The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) uses the COL as a reference to review new programmes as proposed by public institutions of higher education.
Why doesn’t the COL provide specific numbers, e.g. how many engineers will we need in the next five years?
Based on the experiences of advanced economies, attempts to predict the exact demand of occupations are likely to be inaccurate, because they are based on many assumptions. The COL aims to suggest which occupations will have a labour shortage, and not on the extent of the shortage.
Example: while many oil and gas firms forecast a large need for skilled workers in the upstream sector, the unexpected fall in oil prices and uncertain timing of its persistence have led companies to freeze hiring; some have even retrenched workers. Forecasts such as “we need 30,000 engineers by 2020” might be inaccurate and result in an oversupply of labour (leading to problems such as graduate unemployment).
Countries such as the UK, Australia, and Canada have also adopted a similar approach.
How do companies benefit from the COL?
Companies can give input to the COL via the Call for Evidence (CFE) survey, to share their key talent needs and hiring challenges. Based on the COL, TalentCorp can drive for meaningful interventions that are reflective of industry’s talent needs.
The COL can be used as a reference to guide relevant programmes. For example, TalentCorp’s REP and RP-T gives more consideration for applicants working in a critical occupation. This benefits companies who hire talents through TalentCorp’s initiatives.
Does the COL take into account issues of the global economy, current government interventions, and other issues like government mega projects (e.g.: Malaysia High Speed Rail, East Coast Rail)?
Yes. The COL draws data from national surveys and companies feedback. Any issue that influences employers’ hiring policies will therefore also be reflected in the COL results. Such issues include (but not limited to) the general state of economy in the industry, government regulations, and national development plans.
Why doesn’t the COL rank occupations by how critical they are (in terms of the acuteness of shortages/criticalness)?
The COL suggests which occupations appears to be in demand and are strategic to the Malaysian economy. While the COL indicates which occupations received more evidence, it does not compare how critical each occupation in relation to one another. The decision on the criticalness of each occupation is subjective to the users of the COL.
How does the COL benefit talent?
Directly: Companies, industry associations/regulators, policy makers and the general public can use the COL as a reference to understand the trends of different occupations in Malaysia.
Indirectly: The COL is used as a reference to ensure that human capital related initiatives/policies will better target industry talent needs. For example, new courses introduced at universities will go through a committee panel that uses the COL to assess whether the courses will lead to positive employment outcomes for university graduates.
Does the COL also cover future jobs in demand?
The COL provides information on the skills that employers need in future.
In the CFE survey, employers are asked whether they plan to introduce new production techniques in future, and if they expect to expand their workforce in specific occupations. Bottom-up evidence on future labour shortage is used together with top-down evidence to decide if an occupation should be included in the COL, and also to identify emerging trends in future skills needed in the economy. However, the COL does not differentiate between short-term need and long-term need for occupations – this is why the COL is updated every year, to provide constant updates.
If an occupation appears in the COL for several years, it suggests a long-term demand for this occupation. Longer-term interventions could be necessary (e.g. education and training policies). Conversely, if an occupation appears in the COL for the first time, shorter-term measures could be more appropriate (e.g. migration policies, short-term training) in addressing its shortage
OCCUPATIONS ON THE 2018/2019 CRITICAL OCCUPATIONS LIST
The Critical Occupations List (COL) shows occupations that are skilled, sought-after, and
strategic across 18 sectors in Malaysia.
More about the COL and the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee
As part of efforts under the 11th Malaysia Plan to address skill mismatches in the labour market, the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC) was established, jointly led by TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA), MOHR. One of the CSC’s key initiatives is to construct a COL that will be evidence-based and reflects the most sought-after occupations by industry, which may also be hard-to-fill positions.
The pilot COL covers six key economic sectors:
- Electrical & Electronics
- Oil & Gas
- Information and Communication
- Technology & Global Business Services (ICT & GBS)
- Telecommunications & Multimedia
- Financial Services and Accounting.
6 key sectors and their most sought-after occupations*
A quick guide to the Critical Occupations List (COL) by TalentCorp & the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA)
What is the Critical Occupations List?
The Critical Occupations List (COL) identifies the jobs most in demand in key sectors of the economy, and for which industries may be facing shortages or difficulties in hiring.
It is developed by the Critical Skills Monitoring Committee (CSC), which is jointly led by TalentCorp and the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA). The input of the CSC would be used as part of the proposed Human Capital Council to be chaired by the Prime Minister to coordinate the Government’s human capital policies.
How was the Critical Occupations List (COL developed?
The COL combines a top-down and bottom-up approach, a framework developed together with the World Bank and is in line with what is practised in the United Kingdom. It is developed in three stages:
- Top-down analysis: National level statistics are rigorously analysed to detect occupations that are sought after. In particular, the Department of Statistics’ Labour Force Survey 2011-2014 is analysed to identify occupations exhibiting high employment and wage growth, an indicator of high demand.
- Bottom-up consultation: Results from the top-down analysis are then validated by the industry via a combination of surveys and consultations, in addition to engagements with sector regulators (eg MDEC for ICT and MCMC for telecommunications).
- Public consultation: The COL is released publicly and is open for feedback, providing the opportunity for government agencies, employers and individuals to provide further input or evidence on sought-after occupations.
How can we benefit from the Critical Occupations List (COL?
Understanding the specific skills that are in demand by key industries can help:
- The government coordinate policies and prioritise publicly financed initiatives, such as scholarships, reskilling programmes or inward immigration, to enhance the supply of sought-after skills in Malaysia.
- The industry to go beyond business as usual in its recruiting strategy, and to explore alternative measures such as targeting Malaysians abroad and investing further in developing sought-after skills, whether through in-house training or industry-academia collaboration.
- The general public such as parents and young talents, in selecting their course of study and career paths based on areas in demand.
When was the Critical Occupations List (COL published?
The pilot Critical Occupations List 2015/2016 was published in December 2015 based on labour data spanning 2011–2014. The pilot document identified 42 occupations from six key economic sectors as critical.
The list will continually be refined and updated on an annual basis to ensure that it remains relevant and provides an accurate and timely picture of skills imbalances in Malaysia.
Help! I Don’t Know Which is the Best Course to Choose to Study at the Top Private University in Malaysia
It is important to choose the right course to study – you don’t want to waste your time and money on a
course you don’t want to do (or end up dropping out of). To help you decide which course is right for you, make a list of courses that are of interest to you.
Is it a subject you have already studied? For example, maybe you loved the English subject and you read novels for pleasure in your own time. You can consider Teaching English as a Second Language, journalism or Mass Communication. In addition, you don’t have to do a journalism degree to become a journalist – many degrees are considered!
Maybe you’ve always been interested in computers and the internet at home, and enjoyed maths at school, so are considering a degree in computer science, a course subject you probably won’t have studied before. Experienced education counselors are able to analyse your interests, personality and exam results to help you make a list of possible courses for consideration.
Looking at your results in SPM could help you to decide which course you would be good at. If you are good in Maths & Physics then you can consider Engineering courses. Having good results in Chemistry, Biology & Maths, you can think of a career in Food Science, Pharmacy or Medicine. Talking to an experienced education advisor would help you to navigate through this confusing time of choosing the best course that fits you.
Many students after SPM make the mistake of just listening to advise without verifying whether the information given is true or not. In addition, just because you have heard or seen a lot of advertisements by a particular university, doesn’t mean that it is the best in that course.
Many of the course counselors at the universities are paid by the universities to get you to register there, so their main motivation is to get you to register, not to help you make the right choice.
You should also ask yourself if you would still be interested in that subject for a further three or four years – enough to motivate yourself to work and research independently? Remember, you are going to work in this career for the next 50 years after graduation, therefore, you should have a high interest in the course.
The course that you choose should also have a job demand for you after you graduate. Choosing a course that you are passionate about without job demand and you may end up being jobless. Look for statistics and research to support whether there is a job demand for your future career in Malaysia or Singapore. Here at EduSpiral Consultant Services, we do our research on the job demand for the careers in Malaysia, Salary Reports, and universities so that we can advise our students based on facts and evidence.
Now why would you want to talk to EduSpiral Consultant Services when you can contact the private universities directly? Well, EduSpiral Consultant Services staff have more than 15 years experience in counseling students. Having worked in the private education industry, we have in-depth knowledge of each private university and college in what they are good at. We have worked with our partner universities and colleges for many years while the counselors at the private universities or agents’ offices change every few years therefore they would not have the in-depth knowledge of the courses and the university that they are working at.