There is a dire concern regarding the high unemployment rate among graduates in Malaysia recently. According to this report there are about 200, 000 unemployed graduates in the country among other 7.01 million people who are outside of the labor force.
So what happened to the old mantra “study hard, get a degree, find a good job and live happily?”
Factors to Unemployment Among Graduates
Apparently, there are various factors that have contributed to these worrying statistics and among them is the increased retirement age within the government sector and the lack of suitable jobs in the private market that forces graduates out of the job market frequently.
However, the biggest contributor to unemployment among fresh graduates is due to their lack of skills. They are said to be lacking in soft skills, to have poor competency skills like decision-making and problem solving and shockingly, they are known for demanding for unrealistic salaries and benefits without having any experience.
Increasing Employability Among Graduates
Albeit the sad state of affairs, what can be done to increase fresh grad’s employability? Well, the general consensus among the experts is to gain work experience, but how can fresh grads land a job and gain experience if not given the chance at the first place?
One of the way to increase graduates employability, according to SEEK Asia’s CPO Jake Andrew, is that, unemployed graduates should develop transferable skills, not just a specialist skill that enables them to do just one specific job roles.
These transferable skills include improving their English language proficiency, gaining work experience through internships while they are still in the University, learning how to develop a more well-rounded set of skills such as computer literacy or problem solving, and most importantly, being prepared for interviews by dressing appropriately or by doing some research on the company beforehand.
Additionally, fresh graduates can also explore various online courses available through Malaysia’s Massive Open Learning Courses site which was the first implemented worldwide in 2014.
Above all, jobless graduates should always be aware of the market trends by exploring certain industry benchmarks for starting salaries, to avoid demanding an unjustified amount. They should also look into gaining relevant experience first and not immediately reject any “low salary” job offer and focus on their long-term career growth. “Even if the salary is not what you want, get into the industry, then build up your skills and competency,” said the Director of Education NKRA & NKEA, Tengku Nurul Azian.
Reducing Unemployment Rate in Malaysia Through the Startup Ecosystem
The list above shows the top 5 industries leading the job market in Malaysia. With ICT rankings at number 4, it ranks amongst the top job providers. That said, unemployed graduates should consider this field as one of their options when exploring jobs opportunities. Though ICT jobs normally require specific qualifications, many startups within the ICT industry provide entry level jobs that require minimum working experience as well as on-the-job training.
Job seeking graduates can find at least 651 Malaysia startups offering more than 200 jobs on websites like Startup Jobs Asia and Malaysia Angel List Startups that allows them to explore their jobs opportunites. On a side note, they can also join tech academies and incubators such as MaGIC in preparing themselves with ICT knowledge.
After all, graduates should always remind themselves that the Degree they hold should not determine their entire future and its always good to learn something new. They should give their future career a new shot in the arm by working for a startup company as it would bring various benefits like hands-on experience on technology related projects, and not to mention, learning from industry innovators in a progressive and fun environment.
On a side note, Supahands’s SupaAgent program is aimed at providing intensive trainings and part-time jobs opportunities to high-school leavers and University students, subsequently preparing them for the challenging job market. If you think this program would help you in improving your employability, discover more here.