Partnering Employers & Universities To Enhance Graduate Employability

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11-02-2014

7 min read

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Fresh graduates are unsuccessful in securing job offers due to these key reasons:

We often hear employers talk about the shortage of bright, employable graduates. Organisations clamour over the cream of the crop. The brightest graduates receive numerous job offers and are a highly sought-after resource, while other university leavers struggle to secure jobs.

It’s not just about academic performance. A survey in September 2013 found that employers are increasingly looking beyond academic results when hiring fresh graduates.

Key criteria that employers look for include good interpersonal and communication skills, a good command of English and the right salary expectation.

Sixty-four per cent of employers who participated in the survey indicated they don’t have a strong preference when it comes to hiring a graduate from a public university, private university or foreign university.

Leading organisations, including the Big Four, even source for graduates beyond Malaysian shores and run programmes to facilitate early identification of strong graduates.

They run initiatives such as insight days, competitions and boot camps to engage and identify students early on in their student life.

Graduate recruiters know the characteristics they are after, such as client facing skills, high levels of numeracy and drive. When they spot individuals with these traits, either at an event or during internships, they put them on “watch lists” or extend conditional offers before they complete their degree.

The aim is to stay in touch with these undergraduates, so that they will have the organisation at the top of their minds as a preferred employer.

According to the survey, 85% of employers in Malaysia are looking to hire fresh graduates.

The other 14% are of the view that fresh graduates lack the necessary experience, maturity and communication skills required for the job.

Results indicate that fresh graduates are not offered jobs mainly because of their bad attitudes or poor communication skills during interviews or at work, rather than their academic qualifications.

1. Asking for unrealistic salary/benefits (67%)

2. Poor character, attitude or personality (60%)

3. Poor communication skills (55%)

4. Poor command of English language (55%)

5. Lack of required skills (42%)

There is a mismatch between the traits and skills of graduates and the needs of employers today. Both educational institutions and companies recognise this misalignment, and TalentCorp is actively partnering with employers and universities to help bridge this gap.

In collaboration with companies in key sectors, TalentCorp runs various graduate employability programmes in order to raise career awareness and the enhance school-to-work transition. The aim is to help employers build a strong pipeline of Malaysian graduates that can address the shortage of young talents in key sectors.

Talentcorp graduate programmes at a glance

TalentCorp’s initiatives in the area of graduate employability aim to achieve three main objectives: increase awareness, provide exposure, and increase the employability of graduates.

These programmes work hand-in-hand with employers and universities, ultimately with the aim of equipping students to prepare them for work.

1. SECTOR FOCUSED CAREER FAIR (SFCF)

SFCF Universiti Teknologi MARA
SFCF Universiti Teknologi MARA

Sector Focused Career Fair (SFCF) aims to raise awareness of exciting career opportunities in key sectors of the Economic Transformation Programme.

These key sectors are:

· Oil and gas

· Electronics and electrical

· Information technology

· Telecommunication

· Biotechnology

· Finance and accounting

· Healthcare

· Tourism

· Fast moving consumer goods

· Education

For participating employers, the benefits include:

· A platform to source for potential interns and graduate talent

· Access to a qualified talent pool in specific sectors

· Cost and time savings – companies can connect with a large pool of potential employees without having to advertise

· Enhancement of employer branding

Sector Focused Career Big Bang!

Date: 8 – 9 Feb 2014 (starting today!)

Venue: TM Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur

Sectors: Engineering, banking, accounting, finance, consulting, shared services and FMCG

Event highlights: Job fairs, interviews, internship market day, speed interviews, career talks, coffee talks, networking sessions and many more. More than 30 employers including Accenture Solutions Sdn Bhd, DELL Global Business Centre Sdn Bhd, Maxis Berhad, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) and Sime Darby Holdings Berhad.

There will be nine other SFCFs in collaboration with universities this year.

For more information, email coe@talentcorp.com.my or visit www.facebook.com/SectorFocusedCareerFairSFCF.

2. INDUSTRY TALKS (C-TALKS)

C-Talks caters to young professionals and undergraduates, providing the opportunity to be up close and personal with inspiring personalities.

In these sessions, graduates get to meet with CEOs, senior HR representatives, successful businessmen and prominent corporate leaders.

What’s in store for 2014?

· More exciting and informative talks

· In-campus talks – alternate Wednesdays

· Off-campus talks – final Friday of every month

To get involved in C-talks, email coe@talentcorp.com.my or check SFCF’s Facebook page for updates.

3. UPSKILLING PROGRAMME

The Upskilling Programme was introduced to increase the availability of local talent and to provide the opportunity for employment of high skilled jobs among local fresh graduates.

Graduates undergoing the Upskilling Programme are selected based on their strong academic performance and are put through technical training for a period of nine to 12 months, covering niche areas in the key sectors of Electronics & Engineering (E&E), Oil and Gas, Telco, IT and Accounting.

Industry representatives play an active role in ensuring that all training modules are developed based on the requirements of the industry.

Graduates participating in the programme have the opportunity to be placed with an employer within the sector to gain relevant exposure.

This programme accelerates the development of graduates for high value added jobs and makes them industry ready.

Benefits to companies include:

· Access to world class workforce in Malaysia

· Enable demand-driven skill deployment

· Training cost partially funded by the Government

4. COMPETITIONS

Competitions are organised in collaboration with employers to provide opportunities for young talents to engage with prominent industry leaders and to demonstrate their creative and technical ability.

For companies, competitions provides access to a highly driven and creative talent pool.

Among the competitions which have been supported by TalentCorp are:

    (i) CIMB ASEAN Stock Challenge

— A cross border simulated stock trading competition aimed at developing the next wave of investment minds.

Students have the opportunity to trade virtual stock from real life companies that are listed on Bursa Malaysia, Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) and Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

    (ii) Maybank Go Ahead Challenge

— An international business case competition to discover young individuals across the region who aspire to embark on an exciting career with one of the leading financial services providers in the region.

    (iii) Innovate Malaysia

— A multi-discipline engineering design competition open to all final year undergraduate engineering or computer science students to promote innovative culture and mindsets.
Innovate Malaysia, 2013
Innovate Malaysia, 2013

5. STRUCTURED INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME (SIP)

The Structured Internship Programme prepares local graduates for employment by encouraging companies to have structured internship programmes.

It promotes providing undergraduates with the relevant experience and exposure to introduce them to the working world. Today, more than 600 companies are part of the SIP. Benefits for participating companies include:

· A platform to assess and select interns that fulfil their requirements to be part of their future team

· Double tax deduction incentives on cash allowances and other internship training-related expenses

For more information on SIP, visit sip.talentcorp.com.my. SIP approved employers are listed on www.ready4work.my/sip-internship-listing/

6. GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY MANAGEMENT SCHEME (GEMS)

The Graduate Employability Management Scheme, which began in 2009, has now been revised to be more sector-focused and demand-driven.

The main thrust of GEMS 2.0 is to enhance graduate employability with the aim to reduce talent shortages in the key areas of economy by 2020.

It trains, exposes and prepares unemployed graduates for future career opportunities with the intention to contribute to the economy by reducing the country’s unemployment rate.

For more information on the GEMS programme, visit www.mygemsportal.com.my

Student Semester Break Programmes

Student Semester Break Programmes are designed both for Malaysian students abroad who return for the holidays and for students in local universities.

The aim is to help students gain exposure and understand their options, as well as to give them an insight into industry realities and requirements.

This allows the students to start thinking ahead of their career options and opportunities.

Here are five upcoming programmes:

1. “INDUSTRY INSIDE” FOR THE FAST-MOVING-CONSUMER-GOODS (FMCG) AND OIL & GAS SECTORS

Industry Inside: FMCG

What? A three day programme designed to help students from various backgrounds gain insights into the Malaysian FMCG sector, particularly companies with manufacturing operations.

For who? Penultimate or final year Malaysian students from any degree disciplines.

A visit to Unilever for Industry Inside: FMCG
A visit to Unilever for Industry Inside: FMCG

Industry Inside: Oil and Gas

What? A two day programme to help students meet and learn from experts in the oil & gas field, in order to expose them to the day-to-day realities of a career in this industry.

For who? Penultimate or final year Malaysian students who are currently pursuing degree in engineering.

2. THE “EXPLORE” PROGRAMME

What? A three day programme that will expose students to companies that offer well-structured management training programmes.

For who? Penultimate or final year Malaysian students who are currently pursuing any degree.

Visit to Google to meet Sajith Sivanandan, country head, Google Malaysia
Visit to Google to meet Sajith Sivanandan, country head, Google Malaysia

3. ENGINEERING BOOTCAMP

What? A four day programme with prizes to be won for cracking engineering challenges. There will be technical challenges, networking sessions with technical experts and corporate leaders as well as opportunity to make new friends with similar interests.

For who? Penultimate or final year Malaysian students who are currently pursuing a degree in engineering.

4. The Malaysian Public Policy Competition – TalentCorp Bootcamp

What? 3-day challenge providing insight into policymaking from the perspective of government agencies, and to nurture young Malaysians’ interest in nation building.

For who? Penultimate or final year Malaysian students who are currently pursuing any degree.

5. Breakfast with CEO Series

Breakfast with Dato' Izzaddin Idris, group managing director and CEO, UEM Group Bhd.
Breakfast with Dato’ Izzaddin Idris, group managing director and CEO, UEM Group Bhd.

What? A series of breakfast sessions with influential leaders, which give students an opportunity to meet with these leaders and gain valuable insights and wisdom.

For who? All Malaysian students.

To get involved in the Students Summer Programme, please contact Maithili Vasudevan (maithili.vasudevan@talentcorp.com.my) and check out the “Students MY” FB page at www.facebook.com/StudentsMY. Click here for more articles from leaderonomers. 

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