A TalentCorp survey, conducted in collaboration with the World Bank in 2014, revealed that employers viewed soft skills as a key factor in hiring graduates. Yet, Malaysian graduates seem to be lacking in these areas. According to the findings, 81% of respondents identified communication skills as the major deficit, followed by creative/critical thinking (56%), analytical (51%), and problem-solving competencies (49%).
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risks Report 2017 saw that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or IR 4.0, would fundamentally change the nature of work in three areas – how people work, what the workplace will be like, and how the workforce functions.
Human work in routine, repetitive, and predictive work is being displaced by automation and algorithms. New technologies are enabling workplace innovations such as remote working, co-working spaces, and teleconferencing, and the relationship between employer and employee is changing with companies more willing to take on short-term consulting contractors over the standard full-time employment model.
The pandemic accelerated these trends tremendously on a global scale. We can see now that remote working as become a norm for many jobs, there is a vast shift towards digital, and major companies beginning to hire freelance consultants on retainer over employees or vendors. In the current volatile and uncertain environment, the demand for graduates who are ready to take on the marketplace challenges is only increasing.
As the future of work has been suddenly brought forward to the present, the gap between fresh graduates and employers’ demands has also suddenly become more apparent.
Talentbank’s own survey in 2020 revealed that over 92% of employers prioritized attitude over academic results. (Go here to see the top 10 core skills that employers want to see in university graduates that they are considering to hire).
To address this gap, TalentCorp had called for more industry-academia partnerships to ensure that our education keeps up with the latest trends in Malaysia’s future of work. This call is more immediate and relevant today.
“The Government has called for increased public-private partnerships, as industry-academia collaborations are necessary to ensure that our tertiary education syllabus is kept abreast of the latest advancements, and the trends in jobs and opportunities.”
Visioning Malaysia’s Future Of Work: A Framework For Action by TalentCorp, 2017
To ensure that the skills universities impart to students are aligned with those expected by employers, there must be greater collaboration between universities and industry.
This is what Talentbank has been working on for the past 10 years.
Since 2011, we have successfully built the employability ecosystem for universities, undergraduates, and employers, bridging the gap between employers and graduates. We have helped graduates kick start their careers by connecting them with their dream career opportunities. We also help employers find talents who would be the right fit, and we help universities in their efforts to improve Malaysia’s graduate employability.
A key component in this ecosystem is the university system. To support universities’ efforts to raise graduate employability, we have created the “Best Universities with High Employability Ratings”.
This employability rating addresses the concerns of graduates, universities, and employers about graduate employability and whether Malaysian graduates are ready for the future of work. The employability ranking is not a competition, but rather recognizes outstanding higher educational institutions that produce exceptional students that are highly sought-after by graduate employers.
It is 100% voted by leading graduate employers, thus it provides insights into what employers expect of graduates and the universities that produce them. This gives school leavers and parents helpful information to make decisions on which universities they should be enrolling into. Thus, an employability rating would be a useful tool to enhance a university’s reputation and increase the enrolment rate as well.
Let’s work together to hone and develop the potential of Malaysian graduates to thrive in a challenging and innovation-driven world, and reduce the nation’s unemployment rate by improving Malaysia’s graduate employability.