OCT 18 — Apparently, there are about 40,000 unemployed graduates in Malaysia.
Armed with a degree, you’d think getting a job would be easy for them. Unfortunately, employers cite lack of communication skills (most notably an impoverished command of English), bad attitude and unrealistic salary demands as a factor for turning down these graduates during job interviews.
These are the kind of people Malaysia is creating no thanks to a weak education system that fails to instil leadership, ambition and drive. Not to mention the abovementioned lack of fluency in English, good attitude and realistic view of the working world.
Personally, I don’t blame employers who reject fresh graduates on the grounds they mentioned.
Ask any successful corporate warrior today and they’ll tell you they weren’t choosy about their first job. They accepted any salary they were offered before working their way up.
Graduates today are in this dream world of hitting it big in their first job. They have this sense of entitlement where they think they deserve to be paid top dollar so they can repay their study loans. (This was mentioned in a comment in my previous article about overseas graduate where one graduate stated he had the right to demand top dollar to repay his RM100,000 study loan for studying abroad.)
In the first place, whatever loans you take is your responsibility. If you choose to buy a Toyota Camry over a Perodua Kelisa, it doesn’t mean the employer has to bow down and give you enough to pay for that car loan. Employers pay according to your worth. And the harsh reality is that your paper qualifications mean little until you’ve been tested in the working world.
A salary demand has to commensurate with working experience, skills, good attitude and personality.
Without these, you’d be plain lucky to even get a job regardless of the pay.
The issue of our graduates struggling to speak the lingua franca is as old as yesterday’s newspapers. Yes, it’s a fact that our education system has failed us. But with awareness in mind, it doesn’t take much effort to master the language.
Language centres teaching English are flourishing all over the city. If you don’t have the money for tuition classes or English lessons, you can always learn from a friend.
Back in my school days, I used to score an average of C4 for my Bahasa Melayu paper. But I was determined to learn. So I simply offered to tutor a Malay friend in English in exchange for learning Bahasa Melayu from her. As a result, she went from a C5 in English to an A2 in her SPM while I attained A1 in Bahasa Melayu for the SPM.
It just goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
So, frankly, while I note that our education system hasn’t delivered what it was supposed to do, I also place the responsibility of learning squarely on the shoulders of these graduates.
Unless you show accountability in improving yourself, how can you expect employers to trust that you will be able to hold any position of responsibility at his company?
My advice to unemployed fresh graduates is to focus on developing yourself to overcome hurdles. Forget the high starting pay for now. Take any job even if it’s not what you studied for. Life doesn’t owe you a living. It’s your responsibility to go out there and carve the life you want. So start somewhere.