PETALING JAYA: Total youth unemployment among Malaysians was at 13.2% due to lack of job experience and insufficient skills or education to compete in the labour market, according to an economic report produced by the Ministry of Finance. It noted that in 2017, of the 28.74 million population, 4.63 million was unemployed, keeping the total unemployment rate at 3.7% Experience was a major indicator for employability, with 90% companies surveyed by World Bank and Talent Corp in 2014 indicating that graduates should have industrial training by the time they graduate. However, only less than 10% of companies had the experience for developing curricula or programmes with universities. The government had implemented several measures to encourage companies to assist graduates to enhance their hard and soft skills via on the job training. As of August 31, 125,986 graduates have been directly and indirectly assisted through various programs while some 539 companies are working closely with the Education Ministry to improve graduate employability. Communications skills was seen as the most important skill in job application. In addition to that, the high youth unemployment rate is also attributable to skills mismatch as many vacancies in the labour market was for low and semi-skilled job which less preferred and not suitable for fresh graduates. Of the 1.4 million total job vacancies in 2017, 86.9% were for low skilled jobs that only required only primary education, followed by 8.4% in semi-skilled job. Skilled jobs with tertiary education were only at 4.7% or 64,402 vacancies. Unemployment rate differs across gender, ethnicity, age, cohort and education level. "The government will intervene and enhance partnership with all relevant stakeholders to address these gaps. Some of the interventions include identifying skills needed by the industries, mainstreaming technical and vocational education and training(TVET) reducing dependency on foreign workers and cultivation of entrepreneurship in Malaysia," it noted. As for non-Malaysian citizens living in Malaysia, only 1.7% from both genders were unemployed. On an ethnic standpoint, Bumiputeras accounted for 3.36 million or an unemployment rate of 4% followed by Chinese at 771,000 (2.4%), Indians with 433,000 (4.7%) and others 68,000 (6.6%). The female population recorded a higher unemployment rate compared to male population. On a gender basis, decision makers perception of job candidates were likely to have been stereotyped by gender. The unemployment rate for females was higher than males at 3.8% indicating that females are more likely to exit and re-enter the labour force due to family related needs. Employers in general have expressed preference towards hiring males premised on higher commitment to long working hours. Females (43.9 hours) in the labour force has clocked in fewer working hours compared to males (46.5hours). From an ethnic standpoint, Bumiputera and Indian females recorded higher unemployment rates while, Chinese and others saw higher employment among women.