PETALING JAYA: Graduate mismatching could possibly lead to a decline in investment attractiveness and spiral down to other economic drawbacks, say experts.
Dr Yeah Kim Leng of Sunway University said that the issue would affect Malaysia’s productivity, income growth and cause reduction of households’ wealth and purchasing power.
“The country will be caught in a Catch-22 situation if the skills mismatch and ensuing skills shortages result in a decline in investment attractiveness, which will further accentuate graduate unemployment as well as underemployment.
“Lower investment will translate into reduced production capacity and slowdown in productivity and income growth.
“There will be substantial negative demand feedback as lower income due to elevated unemployment and underemployment levels will reduce households’ wealth and purchasing power,” he told The Star.
Yeah added that one of the factors that contributed to the conundrum was the oversupply of graduates with general degrees that do not match the labour market demands.
As most employers were hesitant to invest in training fresh graduates to cut costs and risks, the latter would then be forced to take up lower job levels which lead to underemployment.
“One of the key factors underlying graduates’ job mismatch is that their education and training are not in the disciplines that are in current demand such as data scientists, e-commerce specialists and mobile application developers.
“It is also a consequence of over-supply in graduates with general degrees. Coupled with lack of work experience and industry-specific skills, these graduates are unable to fulfil the required job functions without substantial reskilling or upskilling,” he added.
Yeah also cited the weak job creation by companies as one of the key drivers to the graduate mismatch.
Economist Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak opined that the mismatching happened when the graduates were not equipped with soft skills, leading employers to turn them down despite having fitting academic qualifications.
He said in a recruitment process, employers tended to evaluate candidates’ soft skills that would be leveraged on by the company.
However, due to the lack of the extra skills, it caused rejection of graduates leading them to take up jobs that might not be related to their studies.
“The issue here is academic institutions were emphasising too much on the academic performance and disregarded the graduates’ emotional, spiritual, creative intelligence,” he said.