Survey Says 36% of Malaysian Graduates Leave Their First Jobs In Less Than A Year

Pursuit of a higher paying role is one of the major reasons.

Cover image via Reuters

More than a third of fresh Malaysian graduates end up quitting their jobs in less than a year, citing the need for better growth opportunities and a desire for higher pay

This, according to a new research by, which claims that young Malaysians jump ship within their first year despite 58% of fresh graduates believing that their first ever job is highly important to pave the way for their future careers.

The research, which surveyed over 700 fresh graduates and employers in Malaysia to uncover insights, challenges and expectations around the recruitment process for young local talent, revealed that 36% of young talents leave their first jobs within a year, with 74% attributing this to a lack of professional development and 43% saying they pursued a higher paying role.

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Mismatches between talent and employer expectations

While 80% of employers believe they provide sufficient support to help fresh graduates succeed, a worrying 24% of fresh graduates said they struggled with a lack of mentorship, and 22% said they faced challenges with their boss, with 21% saying they felt they should have been better compensated.

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Sanjay Modi, Managing Director​ ​at​ ​, APAC and the Middle East, said the mismatch between the sentiments of employers and fresh graduates was "worrying"

"This shows a worrying mismatch between the biggest challenges young talent say they face in their starting jobs and local employers’ belief that they are providing adequate support for young talent to flourish. This should obviously be a concern for employers looking to attract, hire and retain young talent in the long-term," Sanjay Modi said.

"However, there is also a realisation that young talent perhaps expects too much too soon. While salary will always be important for young talent, employers need to work harder to manage expectations around promotions within the first 12 months. This is a time where young talent needs to prove themselves, work hard, and hit their targets as per their job description," he said, adding that before achieving these goals, "fresh graduates should not expect to be handed promotions and additional responsibilities."

Image via Live Mint

The survey also found important insights into what Malaysian employers are looking for on CVs, and the biggest mistakes young talent make during job interviews

67% of employers say they spend less than three minutes reading your CV, with 50% scanning it for one to three minutes and 17% only glancing at it for less than 60 seconds.

When considering a CV, employers care most about any experience a seeker might have that is relevant to the role (68%), followed by qualifications and education (58%) and ensuring the resume is well-written and easy to read (45%).

Interestingly, they don’t care much about proper spelling and grammar (11%), links to your portfolio of work (8%) or any volunteer experience you might have (5%).

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Malaysian job seekers agree that the hardest part of writing a CV is the career summary (26%). When it comes to job interview mistakes, 54% of Malaysians say not doing enough research was their biggest regret, followed by not asking questions (46%).

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How can fresh graduates help themselves?

Well, according to the survey, one way young talent can help themselves progress faster is through completing relevant internships prior to their first job search.

However, while 91% Malaysian employers say that internship is important, only 42% of local employers currently offer an internship programme.

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