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The basics
Malaysia: Career Prospects

Finding a graduate career in Malaysia

Learn all about life after graduation for international students in Malaysia including what your chances of remaining in the country to work are like...

Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur

Against low living costs, a rich culture and emerging international cities, it makes perfect sense to want to stay in Malaysia to start your career after you’ve completed your studies. But as your student visa expires and you edge ever closer to ‘real life,’ what is it that you’ll need to do to stay on, and what will your prospects be like as an international graduate? Never fear: our guide to your post-study options in Malaysia will help you get a handle on your possibilities.


What’s the graduate market like?

A key centre of international trade due to its strategic position over the Strait of Malacca, the Malaysian economy is also keenly bolstered by high-tech manufacturing, engineering and banking sectors. With booming oil, gas and electronics sectors, graduates of Petroleum Engineering, Electronics, Technology, Electrical Engineering or Management face employment prospects that are particularly bright. Four key positions are predicted to be in key demand in 2014: CFOs, IT business analysts, sales managers and geologists, with main areas of skill shortage including  Accounting, sales, IT, and oil & gas.

As well as strong engineering industries, Malaysia is a financial hub of South-East Asia and the largest Islamic centre of banking and finance in the world. Students of Business, Finance and Accounting with strong English language skills are keenly sought-after to help bolster the nation’s growing international ties in these areas. By 2020, the Malaysian financial services sector is predicted to create 275,400 new jobs.

In general, graduates may be optimistic: under the Malaysian government’s Economic Transformation Programme, 3.3 million new jobs are set to be created by 2020 across a range of sectors, notably in electronics and electrical fields (157,000), healthcare (89,000) and oil and gas (52,300).


Can I stay in Malaysia?

In order to stay on in Malaysia and work after you’ve finished your studies you will need a work permit called an ‘Employment Pass’. An Employment Pass is valid for a minimum of two years and a maximum of five. If you’d like to stay in Malaysia for a short period of time (less than one year,) and are offered employment within a particular sector, you may also be eligible for a Visit (Temporary) Employment Pass. The application process for both these permit types is the same. In each case, the application process for a permit will be outlined on your letter of acceptance from your host employer.

For the most part, you will need to first have a job offer from a Malaysian company in order to obtain a work permit, who will send you a Letter of Authority and Employment Contract that you’ll need to lodge your application. When you are offered a job in Malaysia, you will be placed into one of three expatriate worker categories: Key Posts, for graduates in high level managerial roles in foreign-owned private companies in Malaysia, Executive Posts, for those in intermediate posts that require academic qualifications and professional experience, and Non-Executive Posts, for graduates holding technical positions which require applied, practical skills.

After you have received your letter you will need to complete the DP11 Form, and include it along with a passport-sized photograph, a copy of the photo page of your passport and the documents from your employer in your complete application. You can submit your complete application by post or in person to the Malaysian Employment Pass Division.

As of October 2011, high-achieving students in Accounting, Finance, Electronics and oil & gas fields may apply for an Employment Pass (Category II). Students must be completing studies of at least a degree level at a SETARA Tier-5 Malaysian institution, with an academic standard of a high 2:1.  You must be selected by a reputable firm for a graduate position on a contract that is minimum 2 years in length, with a salary of RM2, 500 (US$765) per month. Your company will then apply for the pass on your behalf.

Learn more about the Visit (Temporary) Employment Pass

Learn more about the Employment Pass (Category II)


How can I find a job?

There are plenty of resources for expatriates to find a job in Malaysia. Recruitment services such as Asia Work offer comprehensive, sector-by-sector lists of available positions, whilst expatriate forums such as @llo’ Expat Malaysia and Expatypus offer the chance to get advice from locals, employers and other expats who may be able to offer insight into the job market.

As with any market, graduates who have skills in demand will find it easier to get a job. Whilst you will be most likely limited to English-speaking roles and search platforms as an international graduate, there are a number of multinational companies with offices in Malaysia for whom this will not be a problem.

You should start your search online, using job sites such as JobStreet, Expat Exchange and Recruit.net These sites are all completely in English, and in most cases offer both a database of available positions and links to other companies and providers who are interested in hiring expats. You can also try searching for vacancies in local papers and publications, but as you’ll be unlikely to be savvy of the ins-and-outs of a foreign job market, let alone one that is (most likely) in another language, your best bet is to go through sources that designed specifically to help expats get settled.


Can my university help?

Your host university will most certainly be able to help you in your search for a job in Malaysia. As you’ll need to secure a job offer before you can apply for a work permit, it’s wise to begin looking before you graduate. For example, the University of Nottingham, Malaysia runs a career advisory service that helps students prepare their CVs, cover letters and interview strategies for Malaysian employers, offers industry advice and sometimes even offers direct access to available jobs and potential employers. The Employment and Career Development Unit at Monash University Malaysia also provides students job listings, advice and tips, as well as the chance to engage with a number of the university’s industry links in building relationships and identifying potential paths to employment.

With so many international students in Malaysia, as well as a number of foreign-branch university campuses, employers and university staff alike are well versed in the needs of international graduates and will know best what you’ll need to do to successfully start your career in Malaysia.



Ready to take on life after graduation in Malaysia? Browse courses in Malaysia now and make your study abroad dreams a reality!



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'Post-study visa options in Malaysia'

'3 Fields to study in Malaysia'

'The Malaysian higher education system...simplified'

Study in Malaysia


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