Enhancing employability: Attitude matters


ACADEMIC performance is important but it is not the only criteria that employers use to assess potential employees.

In some situations and industries, academic performance is the secondary criteria, says Dr Patricia Lau, a specialist in human resource development and management.

There are three things that all students must learn before they graduate, says Lau: And that’s attitude, attitude and attitude.

“Attitude is time-proof. Attitude includes behaviours, cognition and emotions. With a positive attitude, fresh graduates can have growth mindsets, good teamwork skills, emotional stability and a willingness to learn and work hard,” she says.

“For example, some students with a high CGPA (cumulative grade point average) can have poor attitudes. Because they are high achievers, they care about their grades so they never learned to develop teamwork skills and sharpen their attitude – they only have one focus, their academic grade. As a result, they can’t work with others who are different from them. This results in team conflicts leading to inefficiency,” she explains.

“Without a good attitude, they do not experience the process of knowing how to solve team problems together.”

Skills matching

Dr Syed Hussain: Jobseekers must adopt a growth mindset moving forward, and continuously work towards strengthening their skills. Dr Syed Hussain: Jobseekers must adopt a growth mindset moving forward, and continuously work towards strengthening their skills.

Adding to Lau’s comments, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) says the most important attribute for an employee is work experience, commitment and having the right skills and attitude.

“In a tight labour market, employability is highly dependent on whether the skills match industry requirements. Graduates have to be aware of both hard and soft skills that are needed to secure jobs in the future world of work,” says MEF president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman.

Syed Hussain says that jobseekers must adopt a growth mindset moving forward, and continuously work towards strengthening their skills. This will help them stay employable and employed, especially for in-demand roles in fast-growing industries.

New entrants to the job market must be prepared to face the challenges of a weak labour market and the hiring trends of companies as they grapple with business resilience and sustainability, he says.

“The reason why some graduates face difficulty in securing jobs may be due to a mismatch between the skills they possess and what employers are looking for. Graduates may also possess the knowledge but lack the right attitude and confidence,” he says.

Syed Hussain says that the willingness to learn and be motivated calls for a mindset that is open and collaborative, and this can be learnt through the acquisition of language, presentation and communication skills.

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