Unemployment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: Whys and aspirations
Unemployment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: Whys and aspirations


September 14, 2020, the UCSI Poll Research Centre releases a poll result on the whys of unemployment and aspiration for aids by the government amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia. The poll was conducted among 858 people with focus on the Central and Southern regions of Malaysia. The margin of sampling error for this sample size is +/- 3%. The respondents were asked for their levels of agreement on the reasons contributing to unemployment and aspiration of aids given by the government in the current pandemic situation.

There are several reasons to unemployment during the times the government is fighting to control the pandemic. Some reasons to unemployment are self-opted while others are externally determined. As examples, there are people whom have chosen to end their last jobs to start their own businesses and while doing so are unemployed and there are others who are made unemployed because of the financial instabilities of the companies they were working for.

The reason of good opportunity to start own business has 48.0% of the respondents opted agreed, 36.6% were neutral, and 15.4% disagreed. The reason of company offered voluntary separation scheme (VSS) has 40.2% of respondents agreeing, 41.8% of respondents were neutral, and 17.9% disagreed. The reason of company practiced pay-cut and hence staff decided to quit their jobs and stay unemployed has 38.8% of the respondents agreeing, 33.9% were neutral, and 27.2% opted disagreed. The reason of company adopted retrenchment has 35.6% of the respondents chosen agreed, 25.8% of the respondents were neutral, and 28.7% of the respondents went for disagreed. The reason of able to financially dependent on the family since earning salaries were not high has 34.7% of the respondents agreeing, 35.2% opted neutral, and 30.0% disagreed. The reason of not happy with the working environment (e.g. superior, colleagues, and workload) and hence took the chances to quit their jobs has 36.5% of the respondents selecting agreed, 33.6% were neutral, and 30.0% disagreed.

In times of unemployment, aids from the government may help. The respondents were asked for their aspiration levels of several non-monetary assistances that can be provided by the government to help those who are unemployed during this pandemic situation.

The assistance of short training courses to improve or add new skills has 85.3% of the respondents opted agreed, and11.2% were neutral, and 3.5% disagreed. The assistance to find a new job has 83.3% of the respondents agreeing, 12.0% of the respondents were with neutral as their option, 4.7% stated disagreed. The assistance of mental health and psychological support has 80.7% of the respondents opted agreed, 14.6% were neutral, 4.8% disagreed. The assistance of essential food or meal subsidies has 76.8% of the respondents agreeing, 19.8% of the respondents were neutral, with 3.4% disagreeing. The assistance of entrepreneurship opportunities (eg. soft loan and business facilities) has 76.7% of the respondents agreeing, 17.9% of the respondents were neutral, with 5.4% of them disagreeing.

The Director of the UCSI Poll Research Centre, Associate Professor Dr Pek Chuen Khee says, “It is eye-opening that the public opinion reflected good opportunity to start own business as the main reason causing unemployment temporarily while setting-up their own businesses. The next questions are the types of industries most ventured and the mode of doing business.”

Dr Pek shared that non-monetary assistances by the government are crucial and appreciated by the public with near 80.0% opted agreed for all the identified items.

About UCSI Poll Research Centre The UCSI Poll Research Centre (UCSI-PRC) is a public opinion research company owned by the UCSI Group. Its main objective is to utilise original and scientific research methodologies to investigate and analyse public opinions and attitudes.

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