More than 50% of Indians are employed in low-income jobs, such as service and sales workers (17.4%); plant and machine operators and assemblers (22.4%); and elementary staff (10.7%). Low educational and skills attainment is the primary contributing factor to the Indian employment pattern.
Based on a 2010 survey of urban poor Indians, 32% of the urban poor Indian workforce had only up to higher secondary level education, 41% had only up to lower secondary level education, 11% had only up to primary level education and 5% had no formal education.
In 2015, the average Indian unemployment rate was 4.3% compared to the average national unemployment rate of 3.3%. The gap is wider among females, where the estimated unemployment rate for Indian females stood at 5.2%, higher than the average for Malaysian females at 3.2%. Malaysian Indians show the highest rate of unemployment compared to peers of other ethnicities
Key Issues & Current Interventions
- The IB40 workforce suffers from low employability due to a skills and qualifications gap. To deliver the Blueprint goals, this gap in implementation emphasis needs to be rectified, particularly in driving job placements.
- Various broad-based Government programs on upskilling and improving employability have been initiated. For college and university graduates, programs such as the Graduate Employability Management Scheme (GEMS). Skim Latihan 1Malaysia (“SL1M”) trains and places graduates in a wide range of GLCs.
- Skills training programs are provided under institutions such as Institut Kemahiran Belia dan Negara (IKBN) by the Ministry of Youth & Sports (MYS), Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) by the Ministry of Human Resource (MOHR), Kolej Komuniti by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and others. There are also approximately 1,200 Government-accredited skills training centres nationwide offering courses in various fields such as oil and gas, motor mechanics, automotive technology, hotel management, culinary arts, tailoring, and welding.
- It is believed that Government programs are under-utilised by the IB40 group due to lack of awareness, language and cultural barriers as well as lack of confidence in gaining entry. There is also a gender component towards enabling more IB40 women to be in productive employment via, for example, targeted training and childcare support.
- To attract the IB40, SEDIC has stepped into the breach by undertaking outreach efforts as well as by collaborating with skills training providers to deliver Indian-focused upskilling courses via the Institute Latihan Kemahiran Swasta (“ILKS”).
Moving Forward: Recommendations & Initiatives
To deliver on these targets, this Blueprint aims to effect the following:
1. Reorganise and consolidate functions related to income upliftment in one department/team
As the function shares very similar skills sets to the existing SEED, this Blueprint recommends this function be an extension of the SEED team’s mandate which will itself be reorganised under a new MIB Implementation Unit.
This team will also ensure proportionate Indian participation, particularly amongst women, in programs that enable participation in upskilling and job placement programs such as childcare services or facilities. To bridge gaps in language proficiency, literacy, confidence or opportunity cost, the team will provide complementary modules to enable participation by the IB40 group.
2. Enrol companies and employers as upskilling and job placement partners
In partnership with relevant Government agencies, the aforementioned team will encourage the participation of corporations and major employers to provide job placements for Malaysian Indian graduates of upskilling courses, towards increasing the diversity of the company’s workforce.