Consider short-term jobs, grads told

MOST companies are only offering short-term contracts due to the uncertainty in the market caused by the pandemic.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said most employers are not able to offer long term permanent employment as they are not sure if their businesses will remain sustainable.

“Some may offer shorter fixed-term contracts or term-based and project-based roles to address urgent needs. “However, most graduates prefer to wait for a more permanent, long-term opportunity rather than accepting these short term offers, ” he told StarEdu.

While the recent Talentbank survey found that over 70% of respondents intend to hire fresh graduates over the course of this year and the next, Shamsuddin cautioned that the companies surveyed were mainly sustainable mid-sized and large organisations comprising 33.5% of public listed companies.

He said the MEF Salary Survey for Executives 2020 revealed that due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation, 35.9% of the respondent companies were unsure of their recruitment policies with 20.7% of these companies planning to prolong the freeze on hiring this year.

In a statement last month, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said about 300,000 graduates from local HEIs entered the labour market between 2015 and 2019.

Out of that number, 58% of them gained employment; 16% chose to further their studies; 2% participated in skills enhancement programmes, while 4% waited for job placements for six months upon graduating.

The remaining 20% struggled with the issues of employability, she said upon commenting on the Talentbank survey.

Taylor’s University Faculty of Innovation and Technology School of Computer Science and Engineering Postgraduate Programmes (Computing) director Assoc Prof Dr Azween Abdullah said circumstances can change although employers seem to favour the hiring of local graduates at the moment.

“Those intending to hire fresh graduates may have cost-cutting measures in mind as cost is a major factor.

“If graduates are versatile and able to multitask, cost will then become an insignificant factor, ” he added.

Sunway Education Group chief executive officer Prof Dr Elizabeth Lee said the Talentbank survey reflects the current conservative hiring approach employers are adopting.She, however, hopes the Covid-19 vaccine rollout will reinvigorate the hiring market in due time.

The government, she pointed out, is looking to create at least half a million jobs this year.

“Let’s look forward and hope for the best, ” she said.

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