PETALING JAYA - Jobseekers, especially fresh graduates, are feeling the heat from the softening job market.
The extended retirement age, higher operational costs coupled with lower revenue and an uncertain world economy are reasons behind the drop, according to Malaysian Employers Federation's (MEF) executive director Shamsuddin Bardan.
He said the number of job vacancies registered by employers in June 2013 dropped by 35.7 per cent to 107,796 compared with 167,968 vacancies at the same time last year, citing statistics from Jobs Malaysia, an online job matching service under the Human Resource Ministry.
Shamsuddin said jobseekers were competing for fewer openings as about 915,000 private sector employees had been retained in the workforce for the next five years with the extension of the retirement age from 55 to 60 after the Minimum Retirement Age Act 2012 came into force on July 1.
"Many employers also prefer to adopt a 'wait and see' attitude because of the uncertain world economy. They are also bracing themselves for the full impact of the minimum wage policy in January," he said.
Shamsuddin said companies, which faced higher operating costs and earning lower revenues, had stopped hiring as one of their cost-cutting measures.
"Some employers are already offering the voluntary separation scheme (VSS) and other packages for employees to leave, so the likelihood of them taking in fresh graduates is very slim," he said, adding that the current unemployment rate was only about 3 per cent.
Some 180,000 fresh graduates enter the labour market yearly, after most public university convocations are held in September and October.
Manpower Malaysia country manager Sam Haggag said multi-national companies (MNCs) were restructuring and rationalising their permanent headcounts in anticipation of what was expected to come.