Gender Imbalance in Educational Attainment and Labour Market Dynamics: Evidence from Malaysia

  • Shyamala Nagaraj University of Michigan
  • Kim-Leng Goh University of Malaya
  • Kee-Cheok Cheong University of Malaya
  • Nai-Peng Tey University of Malaya
  • Rohana Jani University of Malaya

Abstract

The structure of the labour force in Malaysia has seen a major shift since the 1970s. Expanding economic opportunities have also increased demand for highly educated and skilled workers. The changing face of the Malaysian labour force has been brought about primarily by increased access to educational opportunities. Greater access to education has produced not only a surge in student enrolment but also dramatic improvements in higher education. Women have been major beneficiaries of these changes. This paper shows that gains in tertiary attainment have led to greater depth of human capital through bringing more people, especially females, into the workforce and prolonging their stay there. The positive effects are tempered by several concerns. The female advantage in terms of tertiary enrolment does not translate directly into their participation in the labour market. Female graduates are also more likely than male graduates to be in lower paying jobs or unemployed. Young persons without tertiary education face the prospect of unemployment and being crowded out of the job market by degree holders, many being female. Lagging educational attainment among males who dominate the workforce may also hinder a successful transition to a knowledge economy.

Author Biographies

Shyamala Nagaraj, University of Michigan

Department of Statistics, University of Michigan

Kim-Leng Goh, University of Malaya

Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya

Kee-Cheok Cheong, University of Malaya

Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya

Nai-Peng Tey, University of Malaya

Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya

Rohana Jani, University of Malaya

Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya

Published
2017-06-04
How to Cite
NAGARAJ, Shyamala et al. Gender Imbalance in Educational Attainment and Labour Market Dynamics: Evidence from Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies, [S.l.], v. 51, p. 127-145, june 2017. ISSN 1511-4554. Available at: <https://mjes.um.edu.my/article/view/2883>. Date accessed: 20 sep. 2017.
Section
Articles