The high dropout rate of graduates from the 1Malaysia Training Scheme (SL1M) shows that it is actually bad work ethics and attitudes that stand in the way of fresh graduates securing jobs, said SL1M secretariat head Norashikin Ismail
"Some will show up for three days, and then run off. If they get told off by their bosses, they will run off.
"They are all from the 'strawberry generation'... when they don't do their jobs well and their bosses tell them off, they take offence," she said, in an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insight recently.
Strawberry generation is a term that originated in Taiwan and refers to people born after 1981 who 'bruise easily' like strawberries - overprotected by their parents and are unable to withstand societal pressures.
The government launched SL1M in 2011 to empower unemployed young graduates with the skills and experience that can enhance their marketability
Under SL1M, graduates will be placed in selected government-linked companies (GLCs) or private corporations as trainees for eight months to a year, where they are expected to build and enhance critical hard and soft skills that can increase their employability.
Ideally, graduates are expected be taken in as permanent staff by the companies they trained with, but Norashikin says that doesn't happen often as most of the graduates fail to meet the most basic requirements for the jobs.
"They are very proud to be graduates, but they don't want to do the work.
"If you don't show initiative, and don't add value to the organisation, why would they give you a job?" she added.
Norashikin stressed that lack of skills, on the other hand, is a problem that can be easily solved, but the situation is made worse by the fact that a large number of graduates are "too lazy and demanding"
"To change their attitudes and thinking is a challenge for us, because that's really up to them.
"There are those who are poor, unattractive, and unable to speak English. But if they have a positive mindset, it is easy to polish them up," opined Norashikin, adding that some SL1M trainees would even demand for higher allowance during training.
The Malaysian Insight also spoke to Armed Forces Fund Board assistant human resources manager Illya Salehudin Jaafar who told them about his experience with a SL1M trainee
"On the first day (of training), he looked happy and positive. He said it was great to be able to join SL1M. By the third day, he had disappeared," said Illya.
They had apparently called the trainee multiple times to find out why he was absent and when he finally picked up the phone, the management was shocked to hear his excuse for not turning up to work.
"He apologised profusely, confessing that he was not a morning person and could not wake up in time for work. We were speechless. We couldn't say anything to a reason like that," he explained.
Illya said that employees are given the option of either starting work at 8.15am or 8.30am, stressing that the trainee wasn't even subjected to any kind of work pressure at the company.
"We are dealing with a new generation that will try out a job and if they don’t think it’s suitable, they will just quit," Illya told The Malaysian Insight.
Do you think young graduates in Malaysia have bad attitude and are too demanding? Let us know in the comment section below.
Earlier this year, JobStreet's country manager Chook Yuh Yng said that poor attitude is one of the reasons why local fresh graduates can't get jobs: