Employers need to offer a fair wage to fill manufacturing sector jobs

"Companies make high profits but offer low wages, if this continues, our country will suffer losses."

29 Mar 2024 04:14pm
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Bernama FILE PIX
Photo for illustrative purposes only. Bernama FILE PIX

PUTRAJAYA - The current vacancy of 49,500 positions that require high skills for the manufacturing sector due to the low salary offer is very worrying.

UNITAR International University Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar said that the vacancy should be filled by graduates of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and local universities.

"When they (employers) offer salaries that do not compensate for the skills possessed by graduates, Malaysia will see an influx of foreign workers to fill the vacancies and opportunities for the locals will be limited," he told Sinar on Thursday.

On Wednesday in Dewan Negara, the Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) revealed that low salary was the cause of lack of local skilled workers, especially among higher education graduates, even though demand from the industry continues to increase.

Its Deputy Minister Liew Chin Tong, said based on the quarterly statistical report issued by the Malaysian Bureau of Labour Statistics (MBLS) and the Department of Statistics (DOSM), there were 49,500 highly skilled job vacancies for the manufacturing sector in the second quarter of 2023.

Liew also referred to a recent research report titled Shifting Tides: Charting Career Progression of Malaysia's Skilled Talents by the Khazanah Research Institute, which reported that the number of overqualified new graduates continues to increase and face the problem of low wages, with 65.6 percent of graduates in 2021 receiving less than the starting salary of RM2,000.

Sahol said that the figure also indirectly reflects the persecution of TVET graduates.

"Companies make high profits but offer low wages, if this continues, our country will suffer losses," he said.

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Sahol said employers should offer a commensurate salary because it should not affect the company.

"What's wrong if employers offer better wages because the average manufacturing sector is small and medium enterprises (SMEs)?

"In return, they can raise the price of products to cover labour costs and it does not affect the people of this country because the company's products are marketed abroad," he said.

Previously on March 2, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that the government would enact a special salary act for TVET graduates with a salary target higher than the minimum salary rate of RM4,000 and above.

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