PETALING JAYA: Despite the recent negative publicity about graduates working as drivers in ride-hailing companies, those who have opted to do so have little regret as they find it financially rewarding.
Local graduates interviewed by FMT said they had little or no option but to take on such jobs given the current economic scenario.
They said, however, they had become used to it and even found it appealing due to the independence and income that they enjoyed.
Khairul Adzim, 24, who studied automotive technology, said he began working with Uber as it was hard to get a job in his field, and now finds his occupation as a driver interesting.
He said even if he could be employed in the automotive industry the income there would not be as much as what he was earning now.
He said prior to taking up the job with Uber, he had not considered it as a career.
“My friend recommended it to me and after a while it became an okay and interesting job,” he said.
Mohd Ariff Roslan, 29, who has worked as a Uber driver for nearly two years, said it was easier to be a ride-sharing driver than finding a job in another industry.
He said fresh graduates were especially having a hard time finding gainful employment as many companies demanded experienced workers.
“Cost of living is increasing everywhere. As graduates, we have a commitment to pay back our study loans, and to buy a car and a house,” he said, adding that the government should work towards increasing professional opportunities for young graduates in industries.
The issue hit the media spotlight on Jan 17 when former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad lamented that many graduates were ending up becoming ride-sharing drivers or were selling nasi lemak to survive.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman said the situation was a source of embarrassment for the country.
He claimed that the rising number of graduates not doing what they were trained for was a testament to the government’s failure to create ample job opportunities.
Abdul Malik, 27, agreed that there was no guarantee that graduates today would be able to find career work in line with what they had specialised in at university.
He said he earned an income of nearly RM3,000 a month as a full-time Uber driver, which was reasonable under the current circumstances where it was difficult to land a job.
He also said that he could earn independently. “I am using my own car and at least I am able to pay the bills for my car and my utilities,” he said.
Johan Nawawi, 30, who possesses a degree in civil engineering, found chances of him regaining a position in the industry slim after his service was terminated from a construction firm.
“When I was seeking a new job, I did not even get a letter for an interview from the companies that I applied to,” he said.
He said he had been working for a year and a half with Uber to cover his expenses.