BEING aware of job trends is indeed a good quality to have when preparing for the future but it should not be the sole basis upon which career choices are made.
Job trends constantly change; roles that are in demand today may very well become obsolete in the next decade.
According to Haida Tahir, director of Contingent Workforce Central at Kelly Services, it is important that university students choose a course that they are passionate about and that the course being offered is holistic.
“Well-structured courses prepare students for the real world, equipping them with skills that allow them to think critically, be flexible and adaptable to changes that they will face when they enter the workforce.
“Fresh graduates with these skills are capable of evolving through their career, even allowing them to transition into roles that they may not have studied for but are prepared to handle nonetheless. I believe having these skills would help university students market themselves far better than having awareness about job trends,” she said.
Citing the IT sector as an example, Haida said that there is no doubt that there is a clear growth trend within the IT sector thanks to the wave of digital transformation that hit the globe in recent years and that experts in this sector are increasingly sought after by businesses in Malaysia and around the globe.
However, it is very difficult to keep up with job trends as it is constantly shifting and evolving.
“Those in the IT sector can help contribute to the digitisation of their business, which in turn helps them avoid getting digitally disrupted whilst tapping into a whole new market. But new roles that require unique skill sets are being created every day, influenced by economic change, technological development and societal changes.
“Therefore, university students need to look inward and ask themselves if they have all the skills that employers are looking for in this day and age. Are they agreeable to learning new skills? Can they cope with changes in technology? Are they capable of thinking critically? This is how students can differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd and meet the demands of today’s employers.”
Haida pointed out that there is a need for higher education institutions to tailor their courses to meet industry standards, regardless of subject or degree.
“The challenge that many employers face when recruiting fresh graduates is that these candidates often appear to be rather unaware of what is happening in the industry they are joining. While this is not a deal breaker for most employers, fresh graduate candidates that have an awareness of the industry easily stand out from the crowd.
Higher education institutions, Haida said, should therefore consider partnering with industry players to help students gain practical experience and understanding on what matters most to employers, before stepping into the workforce.
“I believe that higher education institutions, with strong partnerships with industry players, can create high quality students who will have no trouble joining the workforce upon graduation.”