According to the 2011 Graduate Tracking Study of the Higher Education Ministry said that they are about 40,000 graduates in the country are still unemployed. The percentage of graduates which are still unemployed was 21 per cent from the public institutions of higher learning, 27 per cent from private intuitions. In addition, The Human Resource Ministry of Malaysia said that there are many graduates are good only in theory and many fresh graduates were unable to meet the expectations of the corporate sector.
The concept of employability is general mean that employability refers to a wide range of attributes and competencies that enable the jobs seekers to gain and maintain employment such as, but not limited to the communication skills, logical, analytical and problem solving skills, personality, confidence and integrity, innovation and creativity, flexibility and adaptability and team spirit. Employability skills are not job specific, but are skills which cut involve with all industries and all jobs from entry level to chief executive officer (Sherer and Eadie, 1987).
Recently, employer find out that there are a lot of graduates leave universities without the skills, attitude and understanding, all of that are necessary to successfully enter the world of works. One of the factors that causes the current graduates are unable to meet the employers’ expectations is most of the graduates are lacking of soft skills. As can be seen, in Malaysia many graduates that with the excellent degrees cannot get a good job at a popular or highly reputable company.
This is because most graduates are lack of soft skills which are required from the employers. From these, the soft skills are very necessary for graduate jobs in the future. In addition, employers believe that universities and colleges have placed too much emphasis on academic achievement compared to the soft skills. Academic qualifications are essential, but the attitudes of graduates are equally, if not more, important to employers. A high grade point average alone does not guarantee the graduates’ employment.
The general consensus among Malaysian employers indicates that Malaysian graduates are well trained in their areas of specialization but unfortunately they lack the ‘soft skills’ (Nurita, Shaharudin, Ainon, 2004). The basic requirement from employers expect from the graduates that has motivation which mean graduates have ability to think ‘outside the box’, problem solving skills and communication skills, and an ability to work both as part of a team and independently. Besides that, soft skills’ are cited as a critical deficiency by the employers who lament the inability of entry level applicants.
According to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (2011), 50. 4% of the graduate students were not confident with their soft skills before they graduated. While some of the soft skills can be learnt and assimilated through extracurricular activities, they are not systematically and sufficiently transferred to the graduates. Incorporation of programmes or subjects that emphasize on soft skills and the interest for lifelong learning will benefit the graduates.
The second factor that causes the current graduates are unable to meet the employers’ expectations is the graduates are lack of exposure to the real world of work. Most of the graduates are lack of working experience. Employers said that the ‘experience’ is meaning that the graduates have either done community service or have had work for part time jobs in past so that the world of work is not new to them. In recent research from the recruitment company, it indicates that more than a third of the available jobs will be taken by graduates with experience.
In addition, The Malaysian Government also conducted a survey on Malaysia graduates and it was discovered that about 30,000 Malaysian Graduates were unemployed due to lack of experience, poor English poor communication skill and because they had pursued studies irrelevant to the market place (Malaysian Today, 2005). In these 20th century, academic performance means less than real world experience when it comes to getting a position at a firm after graduation. Every job opening the graduates come across requires that graduates have experience.
Employer needs worker to have working experience, employee with working experience will helps the company to save up the time to train the new employee and the graduates that have experience will have the skills to identify and analyze problems critically. Besides that, the other reason that employer need graduates to have experience is employers need to discriminate between applicants with a very similar academic profile and place increasing emphasis on the value of work experience. Without it, graduates may struggle to complete at the application stage.
By completing an internship or part time jobs will provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire and demonstrate these skills at the application and interview stage. The last factor that causes the current graduates are unable to meet the employers’ expectations is the graduates are also lacking of proper career guidance and information. The major element has pointed out by many employers is the unrealistic expectation and demands of the graduates. This is because graduates generally believed their education and skills were sufficient.
The universities considered their students to be well prepared for the transition to the workplace. Unfortunately, employers concluded that graduates now are citing unrealistic expectations and demands for higher salaries as examples. Most of the recent graduates are ‘too choosey’ even though they are fresh graduate that lack of working experience (New Straits Times, 2012). Besides that, most graduated won’t spend time checking the company’s background as they are only attracted by a difference in the salary of a few hundred ringgit.
Cheah and Tay (2011) argued that employees would be more engaged in their jobs if they are supported by their supervisors and if they are empowered to make decision. Most of the students choose their course based on their friend’s and parent’s advices. They didn’t really found out what should they choose, since the choice of the student might affect their future career. Furthermore, employer expects the graduates to find out their company background before the graduates come for an interview. Job fairs and exhibitions can be held to engage employers and youth.
Online community portal to facilitate collaboration for career counselors, students, new graduates and employers can include an interactive website for posting questions and answers, links to the various career guidance tools and manuals, and labor demand or supply statistical reports. In conclusion, there are still graduates are unable to meet the employers’ expectations. It will lead the unemployment rate increase in the country. Government should have plan a way for the formulation of long term strategies to solve the problems occurs.
The today’s world of work, employer is increasingly expecting multi skilled and multi tasking employees. Since the job market is competitive that graduates need to do more than just present their background and qualifications. Besides that, graduates may need to apply new skills that will require them to learn and re-learn while on the job. Employers place a premium on graduates who can move between different challenges and who have soft skills with experienced. The most important for the graduates to get a job is self confidence and motivation to meet successfully the challenges of works and of course to survive in the world of works.
Courtney from Study Moose
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