KUCHING: Fresh graduates are urged not to be afraid to apply for jobs outside their field of studies and brush up on their soft skills to appeal to the market demand and potential employers.
The 11th Malaysia plan 2016-2020 focuses on human resources development on strengthening public and private higher learning institutions towards producing quality graduates who meets the demands of the job market.
Senator Datuk Professor Dr Sim Kui Hian said the future of this country, its rate of growth, must be based on improvements in productivity. For that, the emphasis is on productivity-led growth.
“The general consensus among the employers indicates that Malaysian graduates are generally quite well trained in their area of specialisation but unfortunately they lack the soft skills,
“We want young Malaysians to be knowledgeable, to have habits, social, personality attributes, to be creative, and are embodied in the ability to perform and to produce economic value,” said Sim in his officiating speech during the Sarawak Career and Postgraduate Expo (SCPE) at CityOne Megamall.
Every year, about 200,000 students graduate from universities with a degree in hand.
However, a quarter or 50,000 university graduates ends up unemployed yearly.
He said according to international labour organisation, a country that has unemployment rate of below 4% is considered to have a zero unemployment rate.
“Comparing to the 3.1% in 2013 and 3% in 2012, Malaysia can be said to have zero unemployment rate and even better we have seen improvements by recording a 2.7% unemployment rate in 2014,” said Sim.
Sim however reported that the shortage of jobs is not in all sectors.
More employers are searching for graduates who are balanced with good academic, achievement and possessing soft skills and the ability to be flexible.
According to Corporate Recruiters Survey 2015 by Graduate Management Admission council, 92% of the corporations surveyed would consider a candidate based on their proven ability to perform.
“Hence, youngsters should not be afraid of changing professions. Fresh graduates must be prepared to adapt to the market demand. It’s not what you are qualified in but what you can actually do that’s important.
“In our efforts to curb unemployment in Malaysia, we have and will look into the condition of each state and implement strategies catering to different needs for different situations. We are now looking into helping the progress of Sarawakians just as well, hence the SCPE came at the right timing,” he said to the audience at SCPE on Saturday.
In accordance to the market demands, Sim said a degree alone isn’t good enough nowadays as young graduates need to be extraordinary for employers to seek them out.
He said employers should not just depend on new graduates, existing staff should also be provided with learning opportunities.
He urge all companies and institutions to place emphasis on the development of their employees, their own set of human capital by investing through education and sending them for further studies as that will lead to an improvement in the quality and level of production.
“We cannot disregard the pace the world is advancing nowadays, and more often than not our fundamental education is just not enough to fulfil the needs of the market. Information upgrades and knowledge enhancement are needed periodically and consistently to ensure we are at par with our competitors,
“We are paving pathways for our youths to have easier access to higher education and self-improvement courses with the assistance of various willing institutes, equipping them with ample prerequisite to brave greater tides in the international stage,” said Sim.