Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Graduates' Employability Skills Based on Current Job Demand through Electronic Advertisement

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Graduates' Employability Skills Based on Current Job Demand through Electronic Advertisement

Article excerpt


In Malaysia, there is a profusion of evidence of high graduate unemployment since many graduates are found lacking of what are needed to acquire and to maintain their jobs. In this paper, graduate employability skills were analyzed based on four major criteria: qualification, academic score, experience and specific softskills. The data and information used were extracted from 300 online job advertisements accessed via electronic databases at from January to March 2011. A simple checklist form was developed to quantify the information from ads into quantitative data that was later keyed in the Statistical Package for Social Science for descriptive analyses. Based on the data, it was concluded that graduates with bachelor degrees were more likely to be employable due to high demand. It was also found that academic excellence based on CGPA was not the utmost factor for graduate employability. However, since less than one-third ads were free from work experiences requirement, fresh graduates only secured a little chance to be recruited. Another factor that limited graduates employability was high demand of specific softskills requested by employers, among which were graduates with high quality of communication/interpersonal skills, foreign language proficiency, ICT/technical skills, high spirit of teamwork and specific personal attributes. Results concluded that graduate unemployment rate will continue to increase unless the Higher Education Institution (HEI) and the graduates are prepared to sharpen their softskills according to market niche. It is suggested that the HEI work more closely with industries, professional bodies and society through the establishment of university-industry link cooperation that will become a catalyst for softskills enhancement.

Keywords: employability, graduate, job demand, employer, advertising, industry

1. Introduction

Graduate employability is a set of achievements skills, understandings and personal attributes that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy (Yorke, 2008). They are generally skills that cut horizontally across all industries and vertically across all jobs from entry level to chief executive officer (Sherer and Eadie, 1987; Bunt et al., 2005). From the employers' perspective 'employability' seems to refer to 'work readiness', that is, possession of the skills, knowledge, attitudes and commercial understanding that will enable graduates to make productive contributions to organizational objectives soon after commencing employment (Mason et al., 2006).

Present employers at the national and global economies tend to recruit graduates with high softskills competencies. As stated by Winterbotham et al. (2001), overall employer are less demanding of academic excellence and technical skills, and considers them trainable if candidates are able to demonstrate positive attributes and softskills. For many employers, the weaknesses of graduate softskills are observable prior screening process, interview or selection sessions that is based on candidate physical appearances, aptitudes ability, communication and other personal talents. Such examples are dress code, appearances, conversation, confidence, motivation, flexibility, positive gesture, mannerisms and resourcefulness (Devins and Hogarth, 2005; Newton et al., 2005; Bunt et al., 2005; Taylor, 2005). In United Kingdom, one-fifth of the reported vacancies could not be filled due to lack of applicants' softskills (Learning and Skills Council- LSC, 2003). While in Malaysia, 70 percent graduates are unemployed within 6 months of graduation due to the same reason (Suresh, 2006).

Many scholars argue that graduates leave universities without sufficient softskills and understanding which are necessary to succeed in the working world (Singh and Singh, 2008; Kamal, 2006; Abdul Rahim, 2000; Mohd Sobri, 1990). …

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