A study conducted by one of the biggest agencies, Job.com, founded that lack of communication skills in both speaking and writing has caused the main reasons for the failure of graduates in seeking jobs.
An English lecturer of University Utara Malaysia’s school of cognitive science and education, M.Puveneswary who taught English at the University for about 11 years said, there was a gap between English at the workplace and academic environments.
In her PhD thesis entitled “A Comparative Study Of The Criteria Employed By Academic And Workplace Professionals In Evaluating Business Correspondence“, Puveneswary finding showed that ESL teachers were very concerned about gauging how students had learnt on the subjects taught, where as employers seem to focus on the “big picture” using English proficiency as a “move and “strategy aimed at achieving their business goals that involve consumers and clients. Based on those two scenarios Why English is Important in Jobs Requirement?
There are over 300 000 graduates in the country without jobs, and the numbers looks set to rise as there are over 100, 000 graduates who will be entering the jobs market this year. Salina Jaafar, a graduate of University Malaya, one of the country’s top universities, is one of the unemployed graduates. Studying the Information Technology and graduates a year ago but still can’t land a job was a painful realization for her that the day when a scroll was a passport to employment may be over.
“I’ve gone for more interviews than I can remember, but in each case, I was turned down either because I didn’t have the specific skills they were looking for or because I didn’t have any experience.” She says “The four years I spent in university studying IT has come to nothing” she laments. She is the only one complaining.
It was an unbelievable situation where a country that attracts a thousands of foreign workers can have such a high numbers of its educated unemployed. The Executive director of Malaysian Employers Federations, Shamsuddin Bardan said, “Some of them will not be able to find jobs, so the figure will significantly”
“Graduates unemployment is worrying trend because the number have been increasing in the past several years,” said the Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Mohd Salleh Mohd Yasin. From the past three years, the tracking of employment rate of the university’s graduates has been done. A questionnaire distributed at the convocation ceremony, held six month after final examinations for last year’s graduating batch of 4,450 students was especially troubling 38 percent of them had been unable to find work. “It was the highest unemployment rate we ever recorded”’ says Salleh
Why is this happening?
Some take it easy by blaming the troubled economy. But the economy graph were not that worst to be blame, since the last time unemployment caused by the economy were reported in the mid of 1980s.
Shamsuddin explained it more that changing economy anchored in the service sector. Being reliant on services means, employers require people who not only have knowledge but who possess the “soft skills” as well as people who can communicate effectively, analyse and solve problems efficiently.
The employability of the average Malaysian graduate is becoming more dependent on a mastery of these soft skills. The growing number of unemployed, he says, is mainly because many arrive in the job market poorly equipped with the skills required by a changing economy.
Out of 12 criteria given by 115 employers surveyed by the National Economic Action Council on the study of unemployment the 3 top were soft skills : good communications, being presentable as well as having a reasonable grasp of general knowledge. Where else the Academic performance was on the eighth.
Suresh Thiru , the Vice President of operations at online recruitment company Jobstreet.com which has 800,000 registered job seekers, says that many graduates fails to secure a good job because of their lack in English; whish is looked in by the employers as a potential hires.
An increasing number of under-graduates in the public and private institutions, from the total number of 500 000 to 700 00 this year, would be getting worse, regardless how well the economy performs. It is painfully obvious among public university graduates.
Marie Lam, a country manager of employment agency Adecco Group Malaysia says that “A large number of the graduates of public universities fail to make good employee material according to our client.” Lam added that they generally find it is hard to communicate, have poor computer skills and are unable to interact with the colleagues and people from the other races, fail to display team spirit and face difficulties in adapting the job market.
It is easy to blame the universities for this, but ultimately they are dealing with the country’s schools. “ The students reflect the quality of our school education system, so if there is any weakness , that is the first area we should look at,” says Shamsuddin. “I am not belittling our straight-As students, but the question is, are they equally strong in their soft skills?” he add.
So, we can conclude that even though you are in the top of class, or having a string of degrees, the jobs and success would not be yours, if you can’t master your soft skills; the communications skills, self-confidence and the ability of working independently. With those skills, you would have nothing to be worried of. –afiq@NieStar.com.my