When engineering grad ends up in marketing

A different path: Heng having a discussion with his colleagues. He opted to work as an executive in a marketing agency in Seri Kembangan. — GLENN GUAN/ The Star

PETALING JAYA: The concept of having an academic degree may seem to be an optimal path towards a successful career, but some graduates are finding this to be the opposite.

Despite their hard-earned qualifications, cash-strapped graduates are resorting to jobs such as clerks, insurance agents or even gig economy workers as a means to stay afloat. This comes following an exhaustive job hunting process which see them being unable to secure employment due to a lack of related vacancies or non-lucrative salaries.

Automotive engineering graduate Asoka Heng Aik Yank faced a similar predicament when he became a food delivery rider instead.

“Most of the vacancies available for fresh graduates stated that several years of experience were required.

“I did, however, try my luck, but efforts to land these jobs proved unsuccessful,” said the 22-year-old.

Heng has since landed a job as a recruitment executive at a marketing agency.

Despite having a degree in environmental science, Nadira Amalina, 25, said the lack of job opportunities in her field saw her take up a digital product marketing role instead.

“Most job positions on the market for Occupational, Safety and Health (OSH) roles require a competency certificate which requires one to sit for a course and exam.

“The courses themselves are quite costly, which makes it difficult for a fresh graduate to undertake, especially when they don’t have an income yet,” she said.

She also noted an instance where she was offered a role in a transportation project with the pay being only about RM1,800, alongside having to be on-site and travel often.

“Due to the low salary, I declined the offer as it would not be enough to even cover my lodging and travel expenses,” she said.

Johor-based physics graduate Muhammad Alif Ikhfan Abdullah, 27, said he took up the role of a clerk earlier this year following a fruitless job hunt for physics-related roles.

“Despite graduating in 2018, the lack of vacancies made the job hunting process rather difficult.

“I similarly applied for jobs in related fields such as engineering, but this was also to no avail,” he said, adding that he had to sell nasi lemak from 2018 until last year to make ends meet.

Engineering graduate Lee Pei Guan, 25, opted to become an insurance agent instead, citing a lack of engineering-related vacancies despite a year-long job hunt.

“Although there were many vacancies on the market, none were relevant to my field hence I decided to go with any available job to stay afloat,” he said, adding that it helped him earn enough to make ends meet.

Communications graduate Noor Atikah Asri, 26, said she took up the job as a credit account consultant in Kuala Lumpur after finding it difficult to land communications-related positions in her hometown in Kedah.

“This was also to help support my family’s financial situation since I am the eldest among the siblings,” she said.

Recently, a social media user went viral for posting a video of her current job at a local food and beverage store despite having a degree in Chemistry.

This also saw many other users sharing similar experiences, with some working as riders or clerks.

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academic , degree , graduates , job , mismatch


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