THE government has been urged to give priority to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to prepare the country’s fresh graduates for the job market.
Johor South SME adviser Teh Kee Sin said the education system was outdated, with tertiary institutions focusing on fulfilling academic credit hours and churning out graduates.
He explained that the focus should be on producing a workforce that could match industry needs if the country wanted to remain competitive and continue attracting foreign investors.
“The government should start looking at revamping our education to match current market requirements, ’’ he said.
At the same time, said Teh, parents must start changing their mindset and allow their children to go for TVET and not only degree courses.He said competition for degree holders seeking employment was fierce, with thousands graduating from public and private universities in the country yearly.
“We cannot blame the fresh graduates if they are willing to take a job with a starting salary of between RM1,000 and RM1,200 due to the economic slowdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he opined.
VS Industry Bhd executive director Ng Yong Kang said the high number of unemployed graduates was most likely because of a mismatch between industry requirements and courses offered at tertiary institutions.
“For industry, graduates in all fields of engineering and information technology are in high demand, ’’ he said.
He noted that demand for electronics, electrical, software design, programming, mechanical, electromechanical and industrial engineers was still good.
Ng said candidates were not only required to know the basics of their field but should also be good in computer applications.
“They must also be well-versed in English for day-to-day job communications and acquiring knowledge, ” he added.
Marrybrown Sdn Bhd human resources manager Md Taib @ Md Noh Abd Samad said since most fresh graduates had no working experience, non-
academic activities would be considered during the job interview.
He highlighted that while certificates were important, candidates must be able to answer convincingly when asked about a particular issue.
“With the current oversupply of fresh graduates competing for jobs, employers are mainly looking for a long-term commitment from them, ’’ said Md Taib.
He advised graduates not to be choosy and instead gain as much knowledge and experience as possible for their future, while giving themselves time to adapt to new environments.
According to the Statistics Department, the majority of graduates, who were hired in 2020, received a monthly salary of between RM1,001 and RM1,500, compared to between RM2,001 and RM2,500 in 2019.
Higher Education Minister Dr Noraini Ahmad said about 25% or 75,000 of the 300,000 local graduates remained jobless for six months upon graduation last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.