A study of 229,568 graduates in Malaysia has provided statistical evidence that a majority of unemployed graduates in the nation do not ask for unrealistically high salaries or pick jobs. In fact, the monthly salary for graduates has been largely stagnant over the period surveyed.
The study is called Graduate Tracer Study 2007-2015: Broken Malaysia Dream, authored by Ooi Teik Khim, an economist affiliated with the think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU), and the major findings are below.
1. Unemployed graduates do not ask for unrealistically high salaries
In 2014 and 2015, more than 80% unemployed degree graduates expected salary less than RM3000. In 2014 and 2015, more than 70% unemployed diploma graduates expected salary less than RM2000. Higher salary was also not the top criteria for consideration when came to job consideration for unemployed diploma and degree graduates.
2. Low salary growth for diploma and degree graduates
There were roughly 35% of diploma graduates employed with a salary lower than RM1000 in 2015. More than 70% of diploma graduates have been employed with salary less than RM 1500 during 2007-2015.
However, there was significant growth in salary for degree graduates in 2015 as 16.3% more graduates were employed with salary more than RM 3000. Overall, during 2007-2014, at least 70% of degree holders earned less than RM2500.
After weighing the high cost and time consumption of degree education, low wage growth and persistently high graduate unemployment rate for degree graduates, investment in degree education looks risky with low return for diploma graduates.
3. Half of the employed diploma graduates are not permanent workers
During 2008-2015, more than 50% of employed graduates were permanent workers. However, half of the employed diploma graduates were not permanent workers.
Considering the near-stagnant growth in salary and non-permanent worker employment, employed graduates should be actively looking for permanent jobs with better salaries. This may lead to frequent job hopping among youth and high labour mobility for graduates.
4. Graduates are keen for jobs
A majority of graduates started to look for jobs during their last semester or as soon as course ends. Roughly 95% of unemployed started to look for jobs within six months of finishing their courses in 2014 and 2015.
Among unemployed graduates, around 70% of unemployed graduates were actively looking for jobs. Compare to roughly 80% of unemployed degree graduates actively looking for jobs, only around 66% of diploma graduates were looking for jobs as some diploma graduates decided to further study.
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