Young graduates told to soldier on

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 24 Jan 2016

Getting experience: The tight job market is not only forcing Gen Y-ers to be less selective about employment but also not to switch jobs until the economy picks up.

MANAGE your expectations – that is what various quarters are urging fresh graduates to do when applying for jobs in this current difficult times.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong acknowledges that a lot of changes have taken place since the announced unemployment rate of 3% in Budget 2016.

“We understand that oil prices have dropped significantly. China’s economy has also slowed down, affecting other countries.

“The current job market can be challenging but it doesn’t mean that firms are not employing or expanding,” he says, adding that some sectors will remain unaffected.

Calling the situation “not all gloom but not all rosy either”, Chua, however, expects a lot of businesses to conserve resources and not be overly bold in their business strategies.

For young graduates, Chua says they have to remain flexible in their expectations and adopt the attitude that it is more important to learn and gain experience.

A survey by released last month cited employers as attributing demands for unrealistic salaries and benefits as the top reason why it was hard for fresh graduates to get hired.

Other reasons were the poor command of the English language and their being “choosy” about the job or company.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan also urges young unemployed graduates to be realistic and consider offers made by prospective employers.

“The longer they stay unemployed, the more difficult it is to build a career and find the right job,” he says.

As for those who already have jobs, Shamsuddin advises them to stay put in their current employment.

“If employees join a new employer and that employer faces problems, it will be the new employees who are likely to be retrenched first. This is based on the ‘last in, first out’ principle,” he says.

Shamsuddin points out that the world is expecting to face a recession, whereby growth is not expected to be above 3%.

“It will even tougher, especially if the Government decides to proceed with the implementation of the new increased minimum wages. If so, more retrenchments are expected to take place,” he says.

In November last year, the unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 3.2% compared to the previous month.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia also reveals that the labour force participation rate shrank by 0.2% to 67.7% compared to October last year.

Aspac Executive Search headhunter Royce Cheah observes many oil and gas candidates are currently in search of work.

“Multi-national companies in general are also reducing hires. The parent companies need to contain costs and staffing is usually one of the first items on the list that can be trimmed,” he says.

Cheah says based on his experience and observation, the job market is not going to improve any time soon.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam points out that the tight job market is also compounded by the influx of migrant workers to Malaysia.

“The new trend is to bring in foreign professionals.

“In the manufacturing sector, there is a growing number of skilled and semi-killed workers being brought in from overseas for jobs like technicians.

“This will further jeopardise the job market for local workers,” Gopal Kishnam says.

He also laments that some employers prefer hiring migrant workers as their wages are smaller.

Advising them against being selective, Gopal Kishnam warns Gen Y-ers to try their best to get out of unemployment.

“If you have been offered a decent job, just accept it first. Don’t be unemployed and a burden to your family.

“It will be difficult to kill time if you don’t have money and having so much time on your hands can lead to social problems,” he says.

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