Looking for jobs? Learn to speak English first, says MEF


MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan says there are many vacancies, but graduates are let down by their own incompetencies.

PETALING JAYA: Graduates have only themselves to blame if they fail to get jobs as there are many vacancies but they are not competent enough to fill them, says the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

MEF was responding to remarks by Pakatan Harapan (PH) prime ministerial candidate Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who lamented the fact that many graduates end up becoming drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber or Grab, or selling nasi lemak.

The PH chairman said this should be a source of embarrassment for the country.

Mahathir, in his second policy talk yesterday, added that the rising number of graduates who were not doing what they were trained for was a testament to the government’s failure to create more job opportunities.

Speaking to FMT, MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said there were many vacancies, but graduates were let down by their own incompetencies.

“One of the major things that is lacking is the ability to communicate in English,” he said.

“Most of the jobs available require knowledge of English as you need to communicate with your clients or customers, especially in marketing and sales, which are normally the kind of jobs available now.

“When you don’t have that requirement, it’s very difficult for the employers to do anything.”

Shamsuddin advised graduates who were struggling to find employment to take a crash course in English communication.

“If you don’t have money, then go on the internet. There are lessons on YouTube for free. This is my frank advice to job-seekers.”

Shamsuddin said many graduates also expected too much from their first jobs and weren’t willing to apply for jobs that offered contract-based work.

“These graduates need to realise that most of the jobs available will not offer you permanent positions off the bat.

“Most of them are contract-based but if you prove to be a good employee, there’s no reason why the employer won’t give you a permanent position later on.”

According to online employment company JobStreet Malaysia, there are more than 26,000 job opportunities available.

Its senior marketing communications executive, Jessica Heng, said half of the vacancies were for fresh or entry-level and junior executive positions.

Heng said there was always a gap between employers’ expectations and the quality of graduates. This was based on a JobStreet.com survey conducted last year.

“Nearly 75% of employers indicated that they found the quality of graduates to be only average,” she said.

Heng also gave five reasons why fresh graduates do not get hired:

  • 72% ask for unrealistic salaries/benefits.
  • 64% are choosy about the job or company.
  • 64% have poor character, attitude or personality.
  • 59% have poor command of the English language.
  • 53% have poor communication skills.

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