Employers blame poor communication, language skills for unemployed Bumi grads

Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan says the inability to communicate well in other languages is one of the reasons why Bumiputera graduates face difficulties in finding jobs. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan says the inability to communicate well in other languages is one of the reasons why Bumiputera graduates face difficulties in finding jobs. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on news you need to know.


PETALING JAYA, Nov 8 ― Poor communications skills and language proficiency are among the key reasons why Bumiputera graduates find it difficult to secure employment, employers have said.

The groups polled by Malay Mail said that the lacking language skill encompasses all languages, but are especially prevalent when it comes to English ― despite learning it since primary school.

“For example, most of the jobs that are available on the market now requires you to be in touch with the customers or the clients. You often need to convince them that your company’s product or services are the most suitable for them,” Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said.

“However their inability to communicate well in other languages, be it English or any other prefered medium, would hamper their chances of doing so. This attributes to why it is difficult for them to find jobs,” he said, referring to Bumiputera graduates.

Malaysian Trade Unions Congress president Datuk Abdul Halim Omar also agree that poor communications skills among Bumiputera graduates are a major reason why they are not keen to be employed.

“This is especially true in English, which is a required medium in many companies. Many Bumiputeras did not master this language well among other prefered languages like Mandarin.

However, Halim said there are companies who prefer to hire people who speak their vernacular language, closing the door to other potential graduates.

This comes as the Ministry of Finance’s Economic Outlook 2019 report showed that Bumiputeras with tertiary education recorded the highest unemployment rate in 2017 at 4.6 per cent, far higher than Bumiputeras who did not complete their tertiary education.

When asked if a mismatch of skills was one of the contributing factors to Bumiputera graduates not being hired by employers, Shamsuddin said it was actually prevalent among all graduates, regardless of ethnicity.

But he added that graduates’ inability in adapting to the needs of their professions is a more crucial issue, with the exception of those working in professional fields including accountants and lawyers.

“The mismatch of skills is not the critical issue at the moment, however, it is the adaptability of the graduates to the need of his or her job that is more pertinent,’’ Shamsuddin said.

Halim also attributed the generally high unemployment rate among graduates to the lack of proper exposure to the needs of the job market.

“Most of our graduates excel in academic qualification but have poor knowledge of what is needed on the field.

“That is why when they enter the job market, they find it difficult to adapt to the actual requirements of their jobs,’’ he said.

Halim also explains that ill-exposed graduates often make unrealistic demands in regards to their starting salary and would not compromise on their working hours, which in turn make them very unattractive to potential employers.

Related Articles