KUALA LUMPUR: Young Malaysian aged between 15 and 29 living in urban and rural areas facing difficulties in making the transition from school to the working world.
This was the conclusion drawn from findings from the School-to-Work Transition Survey (SWTS), conducted by the Khazanah Research Institute to check on the relationship between supply and demand of employment opportunities for young people.
The survey, which covered 23,785 respondents, revealed that inequalities among the youth persist in the nation’s labour market.
“Females remain disadvantaged in the transition from school-to-work despite outnumbering and outperforming their male counterpart at the entry level of education.
“Rural-urban and ethnic differentials persist and those from poor family backgrounds are disadvantaged in education and job search.
“The longer young people stay out of touch with the labour market, the more difficult and costlier it is to encourage a return to productive employment,” the STWS report said.
The survey also found that only 35 per cent of young workers and 20 per cent of job seekers are prone towards creating their own source of income by venturing into entrepreneurship while the remaining young people would rather work for others.
Most of the youth in unskilled and low-skilled jobs, the report concluded, are “over-educated” and that their present profession are not related to their level or field of education.
And most of them, especially part-time workers, are prepared to accept earnings below their expectation for the sake of securing employment.
“This includes when compared to minimum wage, monthly allowance for SL1M (1Malaysia Training Scheme) participants and salary offered to newly-hired undergraduates.
“Youth believe that foreign workers threaten their job opportunities. They clearly want the expatriate jobs.
“They do not want the jobs not because these are 3D (dirty, difficult and dangerous) but the pay is too low,” said the report.
The report also found that only 13 per cent and nine per cent are pursuing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at upper secondary schools and polytechnics in the country, respectively, which showed that such courses are not a popular education pathway despite the emphasize given in the Education Blueprint.
A similar scenario was also observed for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
“Only third of all upper secondary students are taking Science followed by 44 per cent for Mathematics,” the report said, adding that only 32 per cent of all tertiary students enrolled in STEM-related courses.
The SWTS data also noted the skills shortages and mismatches in the labour market, in which employers rate soft skills and work experience more than academic and professional qualifications.
Mismatching also persisted jobs search and recruitment methods.
“Employers use online advertisements and informal networks to recruit workers that they need.
“Young people, however, look for employment opportunities through public employment services, job fairs or open interviews.
“Apart from penalising the poor and disadvantaged job seekers, who have limited social networks, this (situation) also restrict the selection pool of employers affecting the smooth function of the labour market,” the data in the SWTS pointed out.
Other concerns highlighted in the report included that almost 75 per cent or all enterprises surveyed do not have training budgets and that they have limited interaction with education and training institutions to enhance employability among the youth.