The tougher economic conditions in Malaysia have caused employers to put more stringent recruitment policies in place in a bid to cut costs which has partly resulted in Malaysia’s salary increments being on the lower end of the spectrum in Asia.

However, at the same time, the implementation of GST has led to many Malaysians wanting a pay raise to help cope with daily expenses, making it likely for there to be a mismatch in the salary expectations between employers and potential candidates.

In fact, a recent survey by INTI International University & Colleges (INTI) revealed that while the market average starting pay for fresh graduates range between RM2,100 – RM2,500, Malaysia’s fresh graduates are expecting a much higher amount of RM3,400 on average.

“We were very surprised by the dichotomy of views as it is clear that the expectations and perceptions of both segments are diametrically opposed,” Rohit Sharma, CEO of INTI said.

“Left unchecked, this mismatch in expectations will widen further and result in a strain on the system, with young graduates either unemployed or job-hopping, and employers facing high turnover or unable to secure the right talent for their needs.”

To make things worse, a mismatch is also prevalent between employers’ expectations on soft skills and what fresh graduates are bringing to the workplace.

Among the 600 respondents polled, 79% of parents and students are of the opinion that today’s graduates have made a significant improvement to their soft skills.

However, 84% of employers still thought that today’s graduates are lacking the soft skills they seek.

ALSO READ: 70% of Malaysian employers disappointed with the quality of fresh graduates

Zooming in on the list of soft skills employers seek, the survey found potential causes of the skills gap.

While only 25% of parents and students place importance on communication skills, more than half (55%) of employers found communication skills important.

At the same time, parents are placing too much focus on critical thinking skills (27% compared to 17% of bosses) and creativity (17% compared to 5% of bosses).

Taking all these into consideration, what can HR leaders do to ensure they get the skills they need?

Human Resources suggests that organisations carry out campus recruitment drives with a clear list of skill expectations as well as be transparent when it comes to the salaries graduates can expect when entering the workforce.

This will help potential candidates be aware of the skills they should focus on and give them time to work on those skills before entering the workforce.

At the same time, this helps to build up an organisation’s talent pool, and strengthens the company’s employer brand.

Image: Shutterstock

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