Economy of Tomorrow Roundtable Series:

Growth and Job Creation for our youth

Growth and Job Creation for Youth – Enhancing Malaysian Young Workers’ Employability and Future Skills

Date: 6th Nov 2019 
Time: 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Venue: Board room, Level 12, Sunway University 

  • Discuss and deliberate the employment (unemployment) issues facing the Malaysian youths.
  • Highlight the high social and economic cost of the persistence of youth unemployment and underemployment in the country.
  • Discuss the role of the policies in internalizing the issues in private sector behaviour in creating secure and decent work for our youth.
  • Enhancing public and private sector cooperation amongst various stakeholders in youth employment policies.

Recent labour market developments indicate the vulnerability of our youth (15-24 years) in securing and retaining good quality jobs in the economy. Although youth represent only 19 percent of our population, they make up almost 56.4% of all unemployed persons in Malaysia. In fact, the persistence of youth unemployment is also becoming an important issue in the labour market. This will have a larger social and economic ramifications as investment in younger workforce will translate to stronger economic fundamentals that will drive medium to long-term growth of the Malaysian economy. Prolonged unemployment reduces the long-term employability of youth, reduce their earning capacity, and also exert a heavy psychological toll on the unemployed individual.

This half-day event brings together policymakers, academics, youth representatives and other key stakeholders in order to discuss the issues related to youth employment (unemployment) in Malaysian economy. It highlights the role of the state in creating secure employment, improve job security and social protection for youth, as well as restructuring our industries towards more productive, knowledge-intensive sectors.

1.00 pm
1.30 pm
Welcome remarks
Ms Tan E Hun
REFSA Executive Director
1.40 pm
Panel 1 Opening Remarks
Realising our youth potentia
In the past decade, the unemployment rate for youths has steadily grown. Youths make up the majority of unemployed individuals, comprising about 56.4% of the total unemployed population. This opening presentation will deliberate on what went wrong with our development agenda in the past decade, and how we can usher in a new era of people- and youth-centred policies in 2020 and beyond.

Guiding questions include:
1. What are the barriers to meaningful youth employment?
2. What went wrong in policy approaches of the last decade that led to our ballooning youth unemployment figure?
3. What are the government’s current policies to redress youth unemployment?
YB Syed Saddiq
Minister for Youth and Sports
2.00 pm
Panel 1
The Present of Work: What is the state’s role in creating decent, secure employment for our young people?

The panel highlights the market-correcting role of the state to intervene in our labour markets to produce quality jobs with high wages for our youths. This requires, foremost, an overall paradigm shift in the role of our state in the labour markets: more government regulatory efforts are needed to guide industries in the direction of creating good jobs, integrating our youths closer into the labour markets and ensure that the labour market functions fairly for young workers.

Some policy suggestions to be explored and debated include:
■ Strengthening job security for our youths by mandating social protection for own-account workers
■ Encourage the private sector to adopt best practices in apprenticeship schemes for our young workers
■ Provide temporary employment subsidies to encourage SMEs to take up young, relatively inexperienced workers
■ And other measures to integrate our young workers closer into the labour markets.
Panellists [TBC]
A Policy Guide to Jobs Creation for Youth

Khazanah Research Institute
School-to-work transition

Federation manufacturing Malaysia
What is the private sector’s effort in training our young workforce?

Achim Daniel Schmillen, World Bank Malaysia
Enhancing social protection to youths in precarious employment

Discussants [TBC]
Bank Negara Malaysia

Dr. Muhammed Abdul Khalid
Prof. Shandre Thangavelu
YB Fahmi Fadzil
3.15 pm
Tea and Coffee Break
3.30 pm
Panel 2 Opening Remarks
Reskilling our workforce for the future
YB M. Kulasegaran Minister for Human Resources
3.50 pm
Panel 2
Restructuring industries to create high income occupations for our youths

In addition to regulating current employment for young workers, we must also be cognisant of new industrial trends such as the Malaysia’s premature industrialisation and the rapidly expanding low-end services sector. These trends will affect the future of employment for young workers.

Besides intervening to ensure that young workers have a secure employment in the current labour markets, structural transformation of our industries is needed to ensure our successful transition from an upper-middle income country to a high income nation. In addition, a structural transformation of our industries will arrest the declining share of secure, high-skilled employment available to our young workers.

A three-pronged policy approach will be explored in-depth:
■ continual investment in our human capital
■ Identifying and supporting promising sunrise industries
■ restructuring our traditional economic sectors to achieve higher productivity
Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin, CEO
Selangor Skills Development Centre (SSDC)
What are new, promising economic sectors in Malaysia and how can we support the growth of these industries?

Renewable Energy Industry
Green Jobs for youths

The Future of Work
Allen Ng, Chief Economist, Securities Commissions Malaysia

E&E Industry
Dr. Francis E. Hutchinson Senior Fellow, Malaysia Studies Programme, ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute

Discussants [TBC]
Malaysian Employers Federation Representative

Yin Shao Loong

Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN) Representative

Nurhisham Hussein, Head, Economics & Capital Markets, EPF
5.30 pm