Some companies claimed fresh grads are not digitally savvy


In recent news, it is reported that Malaysian graduates do not have the skills to be entitled to higher salary. To be more specific, Malaysian graduates do not have the “right digital skills” to fill these jobs. The report came from


According to Gan Bock Herm, country manager for Jobstreet Malaysia, he told Malay Mail in an interview that the current job landscape requires graduates to have digital skills. “In our recent Job Outlook Report 2019, it is highlighted that the talent landscape will be skewed towards digital skills but there is a limited supply of these skills in the market,” he states.

Fresh Graduates too Picky?

fresh grads
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At the same time, Gan said in a recent survey, 68% of employers complained fresh grads are asking for unrealistic salaries and benefits. ‘The job market is becoming very competitive and fresh graduates are competing against other candidates for the same position who may have more working experience that is more aligned to market demands and industry needs,” he says.


He further mentions that instead of asking for higher salaries, fresh grads should and must understand the expected salary level offered for that particular job. They should also adjust their expectations accordingly.


Concurrently, Human Synergy, a boutique HR consulting company, states that there are some employers who refuse to pay fresh graduates competitive salaries. This is because they have a higher risk of quitting sooner than expected, and tend to job hop. Meaning to say, the company sees that there is no long term investment in such candidates.


“This year, the economy is expected to be less robust than before, hence some companies have decided to be cautious on spending,” a representative from Human Synergy said.


Furthermore, salaries and wages often make up a good chunk of a company’s expenses.  “Wages usually form the bulk, if not the highest cost in any company’s operating expense. If companies need to maintain cost while ensuring higher output, fresh graduates unfortunately bear the brunt. Companies would rather pay more to attract experienced or skilled workers rather than spending on someone they need to train,” Human Synergy said.

Bad News: Salary Decreased instead of Increase!

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At the same time in Malaysian news, it has been reported that Malaysian fresh graduates earned less in 2018 compared to those who graduated in 2010. In Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) report, it stated that fresh graduates who hold diploma or degree earned less in 2018 than what similar graduates earned back in 2010.


In BNM’s report, if the salary amount were to adjust for inflation, it was found that graduates in 2010 with a bachelors degree earned a starting salary of RM1993. In 2018, it was found that the figure has dropped by RM10 to RM1983.


Master’s degree had it worst, as back in 2010 their starting salary was RM2923, but compared to 2018, they only earned RM2707. This report was presented by The Star.

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Although that may be the case, it does not mean it is all bad news. In the same report, it stated that lower-skilled workers are earning more over the years with PMR and SPM graduate employees seeing their salaries increased by 4.6% and 2.3% respectively.


This news has concerned a lot of people as the cost of getting a tertiary education is rising but starting salaries remain stagnant or reduced.

Fresh Grads: Difficult even to land an interview

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The demand for high-skilled jobs are decreasing every year from 2010 to 2017, as an average of 173,457 fresh grads enters the job market but only 98,514 gets employed in high-skilled jobs. This forces the rest to settle for low-skilled jobs.


“This suggests that the economy has not created sufficient high-skilled jobs to absorb the number of graduates entering the labour force. In addition, a study by Khazanah Research Institute also found that 95% of young workers in unskilled jobs and 50% of those in low-skilled manual jobs are over-qualified for these occupations,” said Bank Negara in its report.


Another good news is that salaries are expected to increase by 6% this year but the growth rate is still below the long-term trend. BNM states that the labour market is changing due to factors such as the growing sharing economy, technology advancement, and increase demand for flexible working arrangements. The self-employment rate has increased from10.9% (in 2010) to 15.4% (in 2017).

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Economics professor Datuk Dr Amin Hussin Baharuddin said the reason for starting salaries for fresh grads are so low is because they settle for low paying salary. “Some degree holders have to go for low-paying jobs or else not have one. We have not created enough jobs for graduates to be choosy,” he said.


Some fresh grads have reported facing difficulties in finding a job, with some reported to send more than 100 applications before landing an interview, according to The Star. According to some fresh grads, they mentioned how they have sent over 100 applications to different companies and less than 5 companies asked them to come for an interview. Some got so desperate they started applying for non-related jobs as well.


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