'Low salaries blamed for graduates shun job market despite high demand'

Statistical report issued by DOSM reported 49,500 vacancies for high-skilled positions in the manufacturing sector.

27 Mar 2024 02:17pm
Photo for illustration purpose only - Photo by 123RF
Photo for illustration purpose only - Photo by 123RF

KUALA LUMPUR - The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI) said that low salary offer is the cause of the shortage of local skilled workers comprising graduates although demand from industries continues to increase.

Its Deputy Minister, Liew Chin Tong, quoted the quarterly statistical report issued by the Malaysian Bureau of Labour Statistics, Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), which reported 49,500 vacancies for high-skilled positions in the manufacturing sector in the second quarter of 2023 (2Q 2023).

Apart from that, data in 3Q 2023 from the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis reported a total of 22,248 vacancies in various jobs in the professional, scientific and technical sectors involving 5,734 local companies.

"Looking at this data, the production of graduates in Malaysia can be considered sufficient to meet the demand from industries.

"However, most of them choose to work abroad due to better salary offers and working environments or engage in the gig economy," he said.

He said this in response to a question from Senator Datuk Mustafa Musa, who asked the ministry to state the estimated employment for technical, engineering, science, and technology skilled workers required by investors in 2024, considering the statement that the government had to use skilled foreign labour, which resulted in a deficit of job opportunities for local graduates.

Liew also referred to a recent study titled "Shifting Tides: Charting Career Progression of Malaysia’s Skilled Talents" by Khazanah Research Institute which reported that the number of overqualified new graduates continues to increase and they face low salary issues, with 65.6 per cent of graduates in 2021 receiving starting salaries of less than RM2,000.

Elaborating further, Liew said MITI and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) together with other ministries have outlined comprehensive measures to ensure unemployed graduates find jobs in industries that match investors’ needs, thereby meeting market demand.

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"MITI and MOHE together with other ministries are managing the ‘work-based learning’ programmes to align TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) with industry needs, along with other programmes to create an environment where graduates and professionals can work alongside technical workers to meet industry demands,” he said.

Nevertheless, Liew said the industries must be prepared to pay high salaries. - BERNAMA