Slow job growth puts grads in a bind

Scoring an internship nowadays is not as easy, let alone landing a job

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE PIX

UNIVERSITY graduates continue to struggle to secure jobs that commensurate with their discipline and skills as Covid-19 persistently erodes the economy that has hampered the growth of employment opportunities.

A jobseeker who requested anonymity told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that the topic is a huge concern, especially among fresh graduates, adding that even scoring an internship nowadays is not as easy, let alone landing a job.

“As Covid-19 hit Malaysia, the demand started to decline within the skilled factions.

“In my opinion, although we do have another way of having ourselves employed through small businesses, dropship agents and so on when it comes to our mainstream, it is a huge trial to get ourselves employed.

“If we don’t have a stable job, it means we do not have a stable income. This will be a burden, especially to those who received loans from the National Higher Education Fund Corp, because once they graduate, they are required to pay,” TMR was told.

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, jobs in the skilled category in the fourth quarter of 2020 dropped by 36,000 to 24.4% or 2,065 compared to jobs in the semi-skilled category with a share of 62.4% or 5,279 jobs.

“Obviously, someone needs to do something about this. I am speaking on behalf of graduates, what’s the point of going to university if the quota for employment is still low?

“It is such a shame that we are required to solve the misery ourselves. The government and private sector should do something like save the quota for us and stop asking for experience, we are all graduates, if they don’t give us a chance, how on earth will we have the experience?” the graduate said.

A Grab driver who only wants to be known as Syuna told TMR the option in choosing or getting jobs is getting more limited due to Covid-19.

“Almost every sector is affected and some are out of business. Not to mention that our movement is restricted to some extent. Getting a job interview is already a miracle for me,” said Syuna.

Syuna majored in food technology, but has worked as a Grab driver for about five years and doing freelance jobs such as content moderator and writer for an online game developer besides doing side business with friends.

A clinical assistant, who did not want to disclose her name, said she has taken up her current job to fill in the time since graduating her masters coursework in physics in September 2019.

“I have a degree and a masters in physics, I’m still looking for jobs that are suitable for me and even getting a job for entry-level is difficult.

“Most vacancies demand experience and most fresh graduates do not have experience whatsoever. We have no choice, but to just look for any opportunities whether it is in our field or not,” she said.

She said although there are government programmes such as MySTEP that provide contract jobs for fresh graduates to seek experience, the salary is meagre.

She hopes that the government can increase the minimum wage for fresh graduates as some jobs are located in high-cost living areas that might be taxing to survive.

“As for employers, I hope they can be more lenient on experience and accept fresh grads and train them to be at least good at their jobs.

“If all efforts come to no avail, the only option is to be your own boss, start a new business whether in the food industry or whatever that is relevant now,” she added.


Read our previous report here

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