Malaysia expects its digital economy employment to surpass global average by 2025
‘Growth will be spurred by continuous investment and robust development in the digital technology,’ says international trade minister
By Sulhi Azman
Malaysia’s ministry of international trade and industry (Miti) is targeting the country’s employment rate within the digital economy space to surpass the global average by 2025.
Without mentioning specific figures, Miti secretary-general Datuk Seri J Jayasiri said the growth will be spurred by continuous investment and robust development in the digital technology.
“In the era of disruption, the government along with all stakeholders need to work together to design strategies and promote comprehensive efforts to facilitate the transition for our economies, and especially in human capital,” he told reporters after opening the Asia Pacific Services Symposium 2017, on behalf of International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
According to the ministry’s partner, the Asean Service Providers Confederation (ASPC), the employment rate within the digital economy space — particularly in the trading activities of the services and manufacturing sectors in Malaysia, as well as in other Asia-Pacific countries — has underperformed its global peers.
“Pretty much in the Asia-Pacific economic region, the bulk of the new jobs are in the digital economy space. And this has been true since the last two decades,” said ASPC co-convenor Jane Drake-Brockman.
“The digital services are the lifeblood of the new economic frontiers, with tremendous opportunities to be unlocked in the near future,” she added.
While there are varying figures on the official data of employment rate within the digital economy space, data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that less than 40 per cent of those using software at work every day have the skills required to use digital technologies effectively.
Locally, data from Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) showed that employment within the digital economy space has grown by five per cent to 167,044 jobs created in 2016, from a year ago.
Jayasiri said that with Malaysia “boldly advancing” into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the services and manufacturing sectors continue to be crucial to the future growth of the nation, with the country allocating funds in excess of RM1 billion (US$236 million) to spur activities and development within these sectors through digital economy initiatives.
Jayasiri said the digital economy currently contributes to around 17 per cent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP), and this is expected to surpass 20 per cent by 2020.
On the global front, he said the services sector now accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s GDP, 60 per cent of global employment and 46 per cent of global exports.
A Miti initiative that is spearheaded by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), the two-day symposium is a collaboration with other agencies such as Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, SME Corp Malaysia and MDEC.