Following a recent report by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), an executive director shared her take on why fresh graduates today are earning less than they were in 2010
The annual BNM report revealed that although the number of graduates in Malaysia's workforce increased significantly from 2010 to 2017, their starting salaries remained underwhelming.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, 28 March, Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan addressed the issue in an "eye-opener for students and parents".
Her post has since gone viral with over 8,100 shares and more than 730 comments
Arujanan, who also heads the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre (MABIC), named the following reasons for why graduates are struggling:
1. Fewer jobs for graduates are available despite there being more graduates,
2. Salaries have gone down in spite of increasing living costs,
3. There is a decline in demand for high-skilled jobs "in spite of the government telling us otherwise," and
4. Entry jobs are mostly sales and marketing.
According to her observations, Arujanan boiled down the difficulties of finding a job to a number of reasons, such as a lack of soft skills, clear career goals, and family financial planning
The biotechnology expert explained that graduates need to be "really outstanding, especially in soft skills to stand out in a crowd."
However, she added that learning soft skills is not just a subject that you can score an 'A' in.
Secondly, "blindly doing Masters and PhD without a clear career goal does not pay off" and might instead end up becoming a double-edged sword, she added.
Having essentials like a phone, car, and rented house can help a graduate secure a job, she wrote
However, poorer parents who cannot provide such things will see their unemployed children struggle more and will feel the need to support them.
One suggestion she offered would be for parents to do careful financial planning during the pregnancy stage itself. "I don't see this in most families. I see splurging at weddings and birthday parties," she said.
At the end of her post, Arujanan questioned the government on what steps they are taking to increase employment in the country.
"My field, biotechnology and biosciences, is already neglected. Yet, we call for 60:40 science to arts ratio," she wrote.
On Thursday, 28 March Education Minister Maszlee Malik said fresh graduates should question industries on the salary drop
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