Solution Jobless Graduate in Malaysia
This research is to identify future help which can contribute towards reducing the unemployment rate of graduates in Malaysia. It does so by gaining initial insights into this problem through two groups: graduates and employers. The data draws on why graduates are unemployed from their own perspective as well as employers’ expectations towards the new workforce. The study concludes with two striking observations. Firstly, the graduates themselves feel that they are to be blamed for being unemployed.
In addition, the employers to feel similarly, so are reinforcing graduates’ attitudes as one of the major reasons for graduates’ unemployment. In February 2006, the Berita Harian, a local newspaper, reported that every year Malaysia produces 60,000 graduates. 20,217 jobless graduates registered themselves with the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia in June 2006. Tables 1 and 2 show the rate of unemployment among graduates according to universities and courses in Malaysia. Table 1: Unemployment among graduates according to universities
In general, there are common perceived reasons as to why graduates are unemployed in Malaysia. Graduates lack skills they are not able to impress employers during interviews because they do not have the right skills like presentation and communication skills which include proficiency in English. In addition, they cannot perform to contribute to the company once they start work because they are not “work-ready”. Malaysian universities are not producing “work-ready” graduates because the country’s education system is too exam-oriented.
They produce graduates who are competent theory-wise but have no sufficient practical exposure. Finally, another common relevant reason is related to the mismatch between what the universities are producing and what the Malaysian job-market seeks. Finally, This unemployment dilemma might also be the result of the nature of computer science where skills are always changing and dynamic or, as Hesketh (2000) terms, as ‘converging’. This phenomenon has caused a commotion in Malaysia where local society is tarting to accept that there is no guarantee of employment after a degree. This has made graduates automatically enroll themselves for postgraduate programmes; parents become more concerned about the courses their children are signing up for – or are it their child employment at the end of the study period – and educators no longer stress educational excellence only but have started to recognize that skills need to be taught. Reacting to the problem, the Malaysian Government has taken crucial steps to face this problem.
Examples of three such steps taken by the Government are the training scheme for unemployed graduates, teaching more subjects in English at school level, and the introduction of the Electronic Labour Exchange System (ELX) which are detailed below: 1. The training scheme for unemployed graduates: The objective of the Graduate Training Scheme 2005 is to assist and equip unemployed graduates with specialized skills to enhance employability, including English Language. It is targeted at degree or diploma graduates from 2002 onwards. The Government sponsors the programme fee, which is a generous monthly allowance of RM500. . More subjects at school level taught in English: In 2002, the Government announced that from 2003 onwards, the teaching of Science and Mathematics would be carried out in English, in order to ensure that Malaysia will not be left behind in a world that was rapidly becoming globalized. In addition, this programme aims to arrest the declining command of the language among students. All public universities were urged to change the medium of instruction from Malay to English in science and technology subjects in 2005. 3. The Electronic Labour Exchange (ELX) project:
This project was officially launched by the Minister of Human Resources, Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn on 30 May 2006. It acts as a one-stop centre for labour market information, and is accessible to government agencies, the private sector and the general public. The Job Clearing System offers free-of-charge job matching services for the Malaysian public and employers. The Government hopes that the objectives of improving the mobilization of the nation’s human resources and optimizing the utilization of manpower through the systematic matching of job seekers to job vacancies can be achieved.
Finally, the Prime Minister’s Department in the Economic Planning Unit FAQ webpage states the short and long term measures implemented by the government on the issue of unemployed graduates in the country as the following: 1. Review the curriculum of the university to ensure graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge required by the industry and employers. In this regard, soft skill subjects such as communication, problem-solving and language skills especially English, have been introduced.
The usage of English as learning and teaching medium was also strengthened. 2. Double major subjects will also be introduced to ensure graduates possess broader knowledge. 3. Introduce Entrepreneurship Programmes to encourage graduates to be self-employed. 4. Conduct studies and findings of the studies will be used as inputs for government in formulating comprehensive policies and programmes. Even so, the effectiveness of these actions is debatable in terms of solving this unemployment crisis among graduates.
It is absolutely crucial to get to the root of this problem if the state wants to generate future-proof graduates, regardless of their specializations as these are the graduates who can withstand the speed of change in the real world. Such ‘future-proofing’ requires the examination of employability which is discussed in the next section. From an employer’s perspective, the top skills that they desire in new graduates are: positive attitude, initiative, team player and awareness of own strength and weaknesses. 8% of employers gave negative comments when relating the education system to unemployment of graduates. 91% of employers foresee changes in job requirements in graduates and 59% say the changes will concern employability skills. Most employers mention that an employable graduate has to have skills under an essential skills list. Finally, 51% of employers stress graduates’ attitude in relation to unemployment while 64% of employers relate unemployment to the graduates themselves.
Some of the report supports that the further development of a range of what it calls ‘key’ skills during higher education: communication, both oral and written, numeracy, the use of communications and information technology and learning how to learn. The report argues that these are necessary outcomes of all higher education programmes, namely: 1. Communication: speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. 2. Application of Number: interpreting information involving numbers, carrying out calculations, interpreting results and presenting findings 3.
Information Communication Technology: finding, exploring, developing and presenting information including text, images and numbers 4. Working with others: includes process and interpersonal skills to support working cooperatively with others to achieve shared objectives, work cooperatively and have regard for others 5. Improving own learning and performance: developing independent learners who are clearly focused on what they want to achieve and able to work towards targets that will improve the quality of their learning and performance. 6.
Problem solving: encouraging learners to develop and demonstrate their ability to tackle problems systematically, for the purpose of working towards their solution and learning from this process. In the Dest Report (March 2002) “Employability Skills for the Future”, employers were seeking highly skilled and generically skilled graduates. The report defines employability as skills required not only to gain employment but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one’s potential and contributes successfully to enterprise strategic directions.
The research offers an employability skill framework that has three key terms which are personal attributes skills and elements. These key skills are explicitly defined with more sub-skills and examples. To illustrate this, personal attributes encompasses: loyalty, commitment, honesty and integrity, enthusiasm, reliability, personal presentation, commonsense, positive self-esteem, sense of humour, balance to work and home life, ability to deal with pressure, motivation and adaptability. All these definitions are similar in the way that they view employability as primarily characteristics of an individual.
In other words, employability is a set of individuals’ skills and attributes. On the other hand, there are attempts to define employability in a more holistic approach, for example, by the Canadian Labour Force (1994), Hillage and Pollard (1998) and the Northern Ireland Executive (2002). The literature developed by Hillage and Pollard (1998) offers this definition: Employability is the capability to move self-sufficiency within the labour market to realize potential through sustainable employment.
For the individual, employability depends on the knowledge, skills and attitudes they possess, the way they use these assets and present them to employers and the context (e. g. personal circumstances and labour market environment) within which they seek work. [p. xi,1999] What Hillage and Pollard (1998) term as ‘context’ is also emphasized in an example of a broader concept of employability presented in the employability framework by McQuaid and Lindsay (2005). It is a holistic framework of employability which comprises 3 main interrelated components: individual factors, personal circumstances and external factors.
The component covering ‘individual factors’ involves: employability skills and attributes, demographic characteristics, health and well-being, job seeking and adaptability and mobility. The second component, the ‘personal circumstances’ lists: household circumstances, work culture, and access to resources. The third component which covers ‘external factors’ involves: demand factors and enabling support factors. All these definitions are similar in the way that they view employability as primarily characteristics of an individual. In other words, employability is a set of individuals’ skills and attributes.
Reason for unemployment Figure: Reasons for unemployment from graduates’ point of view The findings reveal: 1. The graduates: 40% of graduates agree that they themselves are to be blamed for being jobless because they are not pressured to find jobs. 2. English proficiency: 40% of graduates agree that if more courses at university level are conducted in English, it will help them secure a job. Another 40% of graduates agree that having low English proficiency makes them not confident especially during the interview. 3. Government: 76% of graduates say that they have enrolled themselves in a course with no job prospects.
In the late 90s, the Government announced that there will be ample job opportunity in ICT sectors, the universities doubled student intake, and resulted in more graduates than jobs. 4. Universities: 64% of graduates blame the teaching methodology at universities as too conservative and rigid: “chalk and talk” with nothing to nurture them into being an all rounder and making them marketable for the job market. Solution for jobless graduates in Malaysia The solution for unemployment is, obviously, to create new jobs. Usually, a healthy economic growth rate of 2-3% is enough to create the 150,000 new jobs needed to keep unemployment from rising.
When unemployment creeps above 6-7% and stays there, it means the economy isn’t strong enough to create sufficient new jobs without help. That’s when the government is expected to step in and provide solutions. Monetary Policy: The solution used first to address sustained high unemployment is a monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve. Expansive monetary policy is powerful, quick and usually effective. Lower interest rate sallow families to borrow more cheaply to buy what they need, like cars, homes and consumer electronics. This stimulates enough demand to put the economy back on track.
Low interest rates also allow businesses to borrow for less, giving them the capital to hire new workers to meet rising demand. Fiscal Policy: However, when monetary policy doesn’t work, then fiscal policy is usually demanded. This means the government must either cut taxes or increase spending to stimulate the economy. Fiscal policy is usually slower to get started, since Congress and the President must agree on what should be done. However, it can be more effective once executed. It also provides much-needed confidence that the government will stimulate the economy and things will get better.
Confidence is a crucial ingredient in convincing people to spend now for a better future. Cutting taxes has a similar, but even more direct, effect as lower interest rates. It gives consumers more money to spend, increasing demand. It also cuts costs for businesses, which can use the cash to invest in their business and hire more workers. Government spending usually takes the form of jobs programs, where the government hires workers and businesses directly to build things or provide services. This acts like a tax cut, by providing consumers the cash they need to buy more products. . Enhance student soft skill and knowledge Lecturers, being the closest people to students, should continually encourage them to gain work experience and soft skills on campus and off campus. A lecturer may use several approaches to enhance their skills and knowledge; for example to stimulate the minds of students with discussions and case studies. This approach may help students integrate their knowledge and skills with real cases. Apart from that, the lecturer may also allow students to interact with outsiders or to organize social activities.
This will force students to go out and exposed themselves to the outside world and conduct research as partial fulfillment for their degree programs. The process in preparing research involves skill and knowledge. 2. Increases students employability prospect and English skill The one of the programmed from government is The Graduate Career Accelerated Program (GCAP), which aims to improve the employability of unemployed graduates and English level of graduates. GCAP is a free graduate employability program.
The oral and written English language acquisition sessions with GCAP will bring graduates to a new level of confidence for a brighter future and also increases their employability pros 3. Student themselves They should change their mindset and attitude when they are seeking a job. The student had to understand what the skill that are the employer looking for and what the expectation of the company. A student also has to practice or doing a mock interview before a real interview. With a well prepared and great impression during the interview will give high expectation for an employer to hire a student. . Revising the university curriculum from time to time The university should revise the curriculum so it can suited nowadays company and job requirement. Consequently, there are suggestions in three ways, which tertiary higher education can start instilling good employability skills and attitudes in future graduates: 1. Affective teaching and learning in the curriculum. Teaching and learning should prepare graduates to harness their potential to meet skills required by employers. 2. Reinforcement of students’ emotional quotient (EQ).
Through competence in emotional literacy, students are believed to have better life chances and achieve success. 3. Recognizing and appreciating lecturers who are not only committed to teaching and learning but are also sensitive to the well being of students. A good lecturer is described as being accessible, enthusiastic and passionate. Students want lecturers who they can connect to, learn with and be inspired by (Wright, 2005). If greater recognition is given to teaching abilities and its value in the academic world, it will effectively develop both the profession and that of the students’ knowledge, skills and competencies in the future.