Just recently, Malaysians were unnerved by a recent report pointing out that fresh graduates would find it even harder to secure jobs in 2018. Now, it looks like there could be more reasons as to why that is.
According to Nor Zahidi Alias, the chief economist at Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd, the number of unemployed graduates in Malaysia has increased over the years.
In a column published in The Edge, he cited poor English proficiency as well as lack of experience and exposure to real-world situations as the two leading factors behind increasing unemployment among graduates in the country. An excerpt from his column reads,
“In terms of language proficiency, my discussions with industry employers revealed that foreign employers favour Malaysia over other countries because of our language advantage. We have a pool of workers who can communicate in English.”
“It is therefore unfortunate that mastering English is still somewhat of a problem for Malaysian graduates. In fact, many of them cannot express themselves adequately at job interviews.”
“Not only do they struggle with the language but they also lack confidence. These clearly present issues for those seeking employment in the services sector, where effective communication is a key skill.”
Nor Zahidi went on to say that most employers usually take no more than 5 minutes to gauge a candidate’s communication skills before making the decision to hire them. In fact, many employers prioritise this skill more than how much knowledge a candidate has about the job they’re applying for.
“After all, companies normally have their own training programmes to raise their employees’ competences.”
The economist then went on to address the importance of real-world experience, saying,
“It is not really graduates with straight A’s that employers are looking for. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, students do not seem to focus on getting real-world experience. Instead, they concentrate on scoring good grades.”
He added that even at university level, not many students are willing to go out and find work experience during semester breaks before graduating. However, he has acknowledged that things are slowly changing for the better, citing the fact that schools now emphasise the importance of extracurricular activities and universities having internship programmes to help students gain these experiences.
Nor Zahidi also emphasised the importance of possessing general knowledge in increasing one’s employability, saying,
“Having some basic knowledge of politics, business, economics, technology and so on greatly enhances the employability of graduates. This is where the reading habit of students makes a difference.”
So, although the job market may be way more competitive than what it was, it’s good to brush up on these skills to improve your chances! Gambateh, job-hunters!
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