KUALA LUMPUR (October 17): Malaysia, like many other countries, has not been spared the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is evidenced by the rise in the unemployment rate, which climbed to 4.5% in 2020, from 3.3% in 2019.
In its Graduates Statistics 2020 report, the Department of Statistics Malaysia also showed that the number of unemployed graduates rose to 202,400 in 2020, from 165,200 in 2019.
Fortunately, the odd-job economy has emerged with a new opportunity, especially for new graduates, to compete for jobs available not only locally but also through international platforms.
As part of Malaysia’s recently unveiled 12th 2021-2025 (12MP) plan, the government has ensured that it will create an ecosystem that will support the development of the concert economy to encourage people to take full advantage of this opportunity.
To improve the situation, Geoffrey Williams, professor at the University of Science and Technology of Malaysia (MUST), estimated that several initiatives could be taken in the 12MP, in particular to promote new forms of employment, new innovative companies, start-ups for graduates and a whole new feeling of employment post-Covid-19 crisis.
âIt means liberalizing the markets; promote entrepreneurs; free up opportunities; simplify the life of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; and promoting decent, well-paying jobs with a good work-life balance, flexibility and long-term security in a whole new future of work, âhe said. Bernama when contacted recently.
Apart from that, he said, social pensions and social insurance with help from government and businesses should be added to protect the welfare of on-demand workers.
When asked what the government should focus on when creating the ecosystem as mentioned in the 12MP, Williams noted that it is important not to allow unemployment and underemployment to become the standard.
Taking for example Europe and the United States in the 1980s, he said unemployment had become a structural problem for decades.
“We have to avoid this, as we can see it is not so much the lack of skills or determination to work of graduates, it is more that there are too few good jobs in existing companies”, did he declare.
Although the importance of the concert economy was emphasized in the 12MP, one of the main concerns is that the concert economy in Malaysia is often tied to “low-income jobs” such as delivery men and truck drivers. email who constantly work in an environment with lack of adequate social protection.
To prevent concert workers, especially new graduates, from falling into such a “low value-added job trap,” Williams believes the government should provide a good, transparent and supportive environment with less money. interference.
He said laws should also be revised to ensure that concert workers are protected and have rights, especially to be paid and paid properly.
âJobs in the gig economy can be viable, challenging and flexible earning options, so the right legal framework and the right procedural options have to exist,â he said.
According to Williams, there could also be an ombudsman program to help facilitate enforcement, even with online claims.
“We need to stop unscrupulous companies from using gig economy workers to avoid paying minimum wage and benefits, and we also need to stop zero-hour exclusive contracts that are a strain on trade to avoid paying minimum wages. workers in the gig economy.
âPeople should be free to work for multiple companies so that they can get contracts from whoever has them available,â he said, adding that laws should also be made easier for gig workers. ” register as businesses and create enforceable contracts, rather than simple standard agreements. with mega-companies.
Encourage high added value gig jobs
While acknowledging that jobs in the odd-job economy are often tied to low-skilled, low-income jobs such as couriers and email drivers, Williams said people shouldn’t limit their ideas to those -this.
He said that today, independent professionals often start micro-businesses using online platforms to provide services in areas such as graphic design and branding, digital marketing and e-commerce, freelance writing and content creation, virtual assistant and professional support, online training and coaching. , as well as web development and coding.
“Even professionals like lawyers and accountants are now offering services using online platforms, and it is becoming quite respectable and well paid,” he said.
To encourage high value-added jobs in the country, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) piloted the eRezeki High Income Apprentice program in 2016 to explore opportunities in the digital freelance segment.
The six-month pilot program, which ended in December 2016, trained and mentored 658 participants who successfully generated a cumulative income of 2.9 million ringgit.
Some of the jobs and work performed by digital freelancers include programming, graphic design, data analysis, content writing, proofreading, translation, and transcription. These jobs are normally of high value and therefore require relevant qualifications.
The pilot was then extended as a Global Online Workforce (GLOW) program in 2018, with the aim of enabling local talent, especially unemployed and underemployed graduates, to become digital freelancers by leveraging their knowledge, skills and abilities to secure and perform work in the global market.
This effort will be continued in the 12MP to train local talent on how to become digital freelancers by providing relevant opportunities that could enhance the capabilities and quality of Malaysian digital freelancers in the global market.
Meanwhile, upgrading and retraining training programs will be made available to improve the career path of concert workers in geolocated platforms.