Including more women, disabled in workforce can boost productivity, Khairy says

Khairy Jamaluddin said closing the gender gap alone could potentially increase Malaysia's GDP by RM6 to 9 billion. — Reuters pic
Khairy Jamaluddin said closing the gender gap alone could potentially increase Malaysia's GDP by RM6 to 9 billion. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — Khairy Jamaluddin today urged employers to tap into the work potential of women and the disabled, saying inclusivity in the workforce can increase the nation’s productivity.

The youth and sports minister said closing the gender gap alone could potentially increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by RM6 to 9 billion, as currently only 47 per cent of women participate in the workforce, with less than two per cent of CEOs in listed companies being women.

“Getting women in is a quick and productive step towards making sure we increase productivity,” he said in his speech at the 2nd Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Human Capital Summit here.

He said there are also more than 531,000 registered people with disabilities in the country, adding that they offer unique work potentials that could fulfil certain employment requirements.

“They cross all demographic indicators from age, ethnicity, to state of residence, indicating a whole breadth of talent we can put to use.

“The advent of technology and the rise of flexible working arrangement provide new ways to bring them into the workforce but it needs serious effort from government and corporate sector alike to kickstart the initiative soon,” he said.

Inclusivity, he added, is part of a four-key agenda that he believes should lead the country’s strategy of human capital development in the next five years.

The remaining three keys are the change in work culture to embrace the youth, producing a scientific and rational society through strategic infrastructure investment, and finding the nation’s place in the digital age.

The 2nd Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Human Capital Summit is organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI).

The theme this year is “Enhancing Human Capital for a Competitive Economy”.

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