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Kuala Lumpur - Employment

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As of year 2000, out of a population of around 1.4 million, around 840,000 (or 59%) are in employment. For more information about KL's economy and population, refer to the KL City Hall's report at www.dbkl.gov.my. Foreigners (non-citizens) make up about 9% of KL's population. A large majority of foreigners (80%) living in Malaysia are in the labor force (the other foreigners are usually accompanying spouses and families, students). For an overall idea of Malaysia's labor force, refer to Malaysia's Department of Statistics website at www.statistics.gov.my.

The service sector (finance, insurance, real estate & business services, wholesale & retail trade, restaurant & hotel, storage and communication, utilities, personal and government services) account for a major portion of jobs in KL. For expatriates interested to learn more about Malaysia's economy, there is a useful publication by the Department of Statistics available for download here.

It is illegal to work in KL without valid work permits. The job market in KL is very competitive, so much so that local fresh graduates are occasionally unable to find suitable employment. Some specialists are in constant demand in certain sectors and industries (for example, in the education sector, especially in the teaching of English Language; IT and engineering).

Hiring the use of a headhunter (local or international) can be costly. The less expensive option will be to check the classifieds in the newspapers or try websites that cater specifically to jobs available in KL, for examples, www.careerjet.com.my/jobs_in_kuala_lumpur or www.jobstreet.com.my. Alternatively, expatriates can try asking at the embassies or consulates that occasionally hire foreigners for administrative work. Expatriates who find employment while living in KL should note that the employment terms are usually on local terms.

When in Asia, it really pays off to network. Start by attending seminars or social events organized by business associations and societies. Various country's Chambers of commerce often organize such gatherings.

There are about 15 public holidays in Malaysia. Some public holidays are internationally known ones, such as Labor Day, Christmas and New Year's Day. Several public holidays are unique to Malaysia due to its Islamic culture (e.g. Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Maulidur Rasul) and Hari Raya Puasa). The dates of these religious holidays are subject to change.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.