High salaries for TVET: Will it lure students away from university?

RM4,000 minimum wage for TVET? Higher education grads fear skill devaluation

Siti Noor Faezah Muda
Siti Noor Faezah Muda
07 Mar 2024 11:03am
Proposed salary increase for TVET graduates divides opinions - FILE PIX
Proposed salary increase for TVET graduates divides opinions - FILE PIX

On Tuesday, the government announced its consideration of a proposal to offer a salary of over RM4,000 for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, this proposal is among those receiving attention in efforts to strengthen the TVET sector.

The suggestion for a premium salary for TVET graduates is based on something other than the minimum wage currently implemented in the job sector but rather at a higher level.

The proposed salary, RM4,000 and above, is indirectly aimed at encouraging more students to enroll in TVET institutions.

Additionally, TVET will not only commence after Form Five but also after Form Three, contributing to these institutions.

This enables students to obtain diplomas and degrees two years earlier than their peers.

Some agree that this 'high salary' could motivate individuals to be more competent in their respective fields, while others disagree.


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Unique skills justify a salary exceeding RM4,000

TVET graduates with unique skills and experience would certainly find it worthwhile if offered a salary exceeding RM4,000.

I strongly agree with this as it seems commensurate with our country's current economy, not excessively high nor too low.

I believe this salary increase can help overcome the stigma against this educational pathway and encourage more individuals to choose technical and vocational education.

It will also support sustainable economic growth and ensure skilled labour is available in various industrial sectors.

From observing my close relatives' experiences, they find it easy to secure jobs due to their skills, with significant opportunities in the job market.

For example, those who undergo welding and metal fabrication courses have good prospects, as welding certificates are needed not only in the shipbuilding sector but also in many existing factories.

- Senior Executive, Hiziani Sofya, 36

It is great to see the government's earnest efforts in assisting TVET graduates.

Certainly, I agree as TVET graduates deserve proper recognition for their skills and contributions to the job market.

They have received specialised training in technical and vocational fields crucial in various industrial sectors.

Therefore, providing TVET graduates with a high salary is a fair and important step to elevate their profession and further promote interest in technical and vocational education.

In some industrial sectors, TVET graduates with sought-after skills can obtain competitive salaries, allowing them to live comfortably.

For instance, in engineering, information technology, healthcare, and manufacturing industries, many companies are willing to pay attractive salaries to workers with the necessary technical skills and knowledge.

- Engineer, Tarmizi Rahman, 46


University diploma and degree graduates also need an income increase

I disagree with the proposal to increase TVET graduates' salaries to over RM4,000 unless the government also increases the rate for diploma and university degree holders.

If that happens, Form Three and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) graduates will not choose to pursue higher education.

They will be more inclined to enter the TVET field, which saves time and promises substantial income after graduation.

Meanwhile, diploma and degree holders face significant education loan burdens after completing their studies.

They also need a salary commensurate with their education to start a stable professional and personal life, including living expenses, savings, and long-term financial security.

Therefore, providing a living wage to university graduates is also necessary to ensure they can manage their finances well and build a stable future after completing higher education.

- Private Sector Employee, Charnan Murliah, 27

If TVET graduates' salaries are high, professionals with degrees should not receive income based solely on the minimum wage.

This professional group contributes significantly to the country's income tax.

I disagree with such a high increase. Education and skills acquired by university or college graduates during their studies should also be valued.

After years of toiling in ivory towers, they finally receive a salary just enough for basic needs.

However, what is most important is that high salaries should also be based on performance, experience, and the actual contribution individuals bring to the workplace.

Providing fair and transparent salaries to all workers is a crucial principle in effective human resource management.

- Civil Servant, Wan Khairul Anuar Wan Abdul Halim, 33

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