Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Online platforms erase barriers to learning

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
Online learning will be a new norm for teachers and students, even when the pandemic is over.  - Pic source: freepik.comOnline learning will be a new norm for teachers and students, even when the pandemic is over. – Pic source:

EDUCATION has undergone an abrupt change from physical classroom to online platforms at scale.

In meeting the urgent demand for online learning, the development of digital collaboration and communication tools have accelerated.

According to Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Malaysia general manager Jordy Cao, Alibaba Group has initiated an “Online Classroom” programme for free via DingTalk — a communication and collaboration platform.

The programme has benefited six million teachers from 140,000 schools across China, who are conducting online classes for 130 million students.

“DingTalk can deliver low-latency, high-definition video conferencing involving more than 300 people simultaneously at no cost. It also allows free group live broadcast to up to 45,000 audiences at the same time,” said Cao.

He added that DingTalk has also been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as an effective digital learning solution as schools face closures over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Online learning is a great supplement to conventional teaching methods, Cao said.

“It allows students to arrange time flexibly, reduces the cost for textbooks and lowers the threshold for accessing educational resources.

“Schools, universities and students are encouraged to be more open-minded and make better use of digitised tools and resources to make the transformation to online learning easier and more efficient,” he said.

Recently, Xiamen University Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alibaba Cloud to enhance education and cloud computing skills of its staff and students.

Cao said the collaboration between universities and enterprises will benefit both sides and empower future generations.

“Such tie-up allows students and staff of the university to get unparalleled access to resources put together by Alibaba Cloud. Besides, our team plays an advisory role to ensure that the course content remains updated, relevant and focused on the future needs of the industry, so students can better plan their careers in a competitive job market.

“To date, 12 Malaysian universities have joined the community, and over 800 students have benefited from the online training to pursue a professional certification to better prepare them for their future in the digital era.

“Online learning will be a new norm for teachers and students, even when the pandemic is over.

“Meanwhile, developers of online learning tools will strive to improve user experience, thereby increasing their popularity further,” he said.

By Murniati Abu Karim.

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Rough road to jobs for new graduates

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

THE Covid-19 pandemic may have stopped people from travelling and closed businesses for some time, but life still went on for everyone in the world.

In China, June and July are graduation months, and a record high of 8.74 million will be graduating from colleges throughout the country this year.

Due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, they had to complete the rest of their courses via distance learning and will not be having proper graduation ceremonies like their seniors did.

But just like their seniors, they will be faced with the pressure of looking for and getting a job. And they will be in for greater challenges and tougher times in view of the global recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Given the fact that some 30% of graduates were unable to find jobs during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) period, the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a more devastating impact, could make the situation even worse.

One netizen said she started applying for jobs late last year.

“I went for a few interviews, but now they are saying they have stopped recruiting new employees,” she said.

“Those who were already working were sacked or had their pay

cut by their companies, not talking about us who have zero experience,” another Internet user said.

But there were also youngsters who were optimistic about their future and said they would be more aggressive in sending out job applications.

At a job recruitment drive in Wuhan city, Hubei province, a mother who was collecting information for her son was recorded on video.

“He is studying foreign language in Macau and graduating this year, I hope he can come back here to work.

“Before this (the pandemic), I saw a lot of recruitment ads in his field but now there are fewer,” she said in the video clip, which was posted on Weibo.

Jiang Juntao, who studied broadcasting and hosting art, knows she cannot be too picky about jobs.

Knowing full well that the road ahead will not be easy for a freshman in the working world, she is grabbing whatever opportunity comes her way.

She is lucky as she has secured a position as a TV host with an online television network.

“Let’s start work first and gain some experience,” said the 24-year-old from Shangdong province, adding that job scope, workplace location and company welfare are among her considerations in her search for a job.

“Like many youngsters, we are not worried about employment but rather the inability to find an ideal job. Dreams and reality are contradictory after all,” she added.

To boost employment, the Chinese government has opened up more vacancies for civil servants and army personnel and created extra positions in government-linked companies for fresh graduates.The business sector, especially small and medium enterprises, are also being encouraged to expand their recruitment drive.

More loans will be offered for those who wish to start businesses.

The Education Ministry has also expanded the enrolment of postgraduate and degree top-up programmes for school-leavers, and created more jobs in education and research fields, among others.

Malaysian students who graduated from Chinese universities are also facing the pressure of getting jobs.

For Joey Ng, the pandemic has ruined her plan to remain in China upon completing her broadcasting course.

“Based on my field of study, I think I would have better opportunities in China, given the fact that the country has more than 300 television stations.

“Now that I cannot stay in China, I will try to find a job in Malaysia. This is not entirely bad news for me because I’m happy that I can stay in Malaysia,” said the graduate from the Communication University of China in Beijing.

Like other Malaysian students studying in China, Ng, who returned home for the winter break in early January, has been stranded since the Covid-19 outbreak led to both countries closing their borders.

Although the situation in China has improved, the country has yet to welcome the return of foreign students, who are currently doing their courses via distance learning.

Ryan Lim, who graduated with a degree in Human Geography and Urban-Rural Planning from Beijing Normal University, has started flipping though newspapers and online recruiting sites.

“I’m just doing my own survey on prospective jobs. I cannot send out any applications yet as I have not received my certificate,” he said, adding that the academic credentials would be mailed to him by the university.

He is trying his luck in the freight forwarding or media industry.

The Selangor-born Lim, who did in-depth research and analysis on the East Coast Rail Link project, a 640km-railway link connecting different parts of the east coast with the west coast region in Malaysia for his thesis, believes he can contribute his knowledge in the field.But he is also interested in working as a reporter and would like to explore more options.

“Before this, I planned to work in Beijing or Shenzhen, but things have changed,” said Lim, who prefers to be optimistic about his future.Welcome to the working world and good luck, youngsters!

By Beh Yuen Hui.

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Jobs are available out there

Friday, June 26th, 2020

AT the end of March, the Department of Statistics conducted an online survey to gauge the impact of the movement control order (MCO).

The results were pretty depressing. Almost 50% of self-employed Malaysians were out of work after the MCO was imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The online survey, conducted from March 23–31, recorded responses from a total of 168,182 respondents aged 15 and above.

I believe these figures would have increased after more than two months of layoffs and job cuts.

Adapting to the new normal is proving hard for a lot of Malaysians, but for some, adversity has not stopped them from earning a living.

Personal fitness trainer Shahril Nizam Abdul Aziz turned to his hobby to sustain his family when his income was affected during the three months of the MCO.

Even though he kept his job at a local gym, he was hit hard because the bulk of his income came from private training sessions.

“I turned to fishing to take care of my wife and daughter,” Shahril told me.

The 36-year-old now heads to Sungai Besar once or twice a week. He rents a boat from the locals there and goes out to sea with two helpers.

He sells his catch – fish, crabs and prawns – to his fitness clients and friends and this has helped him supplement his basic salary from the gym.

Now that his gym has reopened, Shahril has resumed his private training sessions and will slowly cut back on his fishing trips.

“It’s hard work and takes me the whole day, but I’m glad I was able to earn enough to tide me over during these tough times,” he said.

Another friend of mine, who lost her job at an advertising agency, has started work at a real estate company selling auction property.

She told me there was a spike in properties for auction as the pandemic took its toll on businesses.

“I’m not earning as much as I used to, but at least my account servicing skills are being put to use, dealing with potential clients and agents,” she said.

Since the conditional MCO was initiated on May 4 and the economy started its gradual recovery, I have been getting requests for recommendations for a number of jobs such as restaurant manager, public relations executive and personal assistant.

I am not really surprised because although it is true that many people have lost their jobs, if you peruse social media, you find vacancies in food and beverage, real estate, marketing and many other sectors.

On Monday, it was announced that as many as 40,000 jobs will be created for Malaysians who are jobless following the Covid-19 pandemic, through the Human Resources Development Fund’s National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

“Job opportunities will be opened up in stages within six months from now,” Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan was quoted as saying.

This is coupled with the fact that the government has stopped any new intake of foreign workers in all sectors until the end of 2020 to allow Malaysians to be given priority to fill up vacancies.

Saravanan said the ministry would evaluate the move by year-end to see if it was effective. He advised job seekers not to be choosy to help the country reduce its dependence on foreign workers.

“Don’t think about waiting for a suitable job because the right job might not exist in the immediate future,” he said. It is not only about securing the right job for your particular skill set or qualification. Jobs that did not exist 10 years ago are now available to millennials, especially on social media.

The example of the “Sugu Pavithra” couple is a great lesson.

S. Pavithra, a homemaker from Sungai Siput, started posting videos of herself cooking on YouTube in January and quickly garnered a huge following, thanks in part to her humble personality and flawless command of Bahasa Malaysia.

Her cooking channel has paid off and has allowed her husband (M. Sugu) to quit his job and assist her to produce more content.

The moral of this story is that there are jobs available out there. Don’t despair if you have lost your job or are in the process of being laid off. Fall back on your savings and hopefully your severance pay would be enough to tide you over for the short term, but this is when you should start scanning for job vacancies.

And if you have a hidden talent, social media could just be the ticket for you to start your own business.

By Brian Martin.

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An opportunity to prepare Malaysians for jobs of the future

Thursday, June 18th, 2020
We expect the unemployment rate in May to slightly increase when the figures are released in mid-July. - NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAHWe expect the unemployment rate in May to slightly increase when the figures are released in mid-July. – NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH

ON June 15, the Department of Statistics (DoSM) announced that Malaysia’s unemployment rate stood at five per cent at the end of April. The last time we had a figure above the 4.0 per cent mark (which denotes full employment) was in 1993.

We expect the unemployment rate in May to slightly increase when the figures are released in mid-July.

In the past three months, the government has prioritised the health of the rakyat in fighting Covid-19. The preservation of life is a sacrosanct responsibility that the government takes seriously.

Alhamdulillah, in this regard we have been very successful. Kudos to all our health front-liners.

We must now focus on jobs, even as we keep an eye on the Covid-19 pandemic.

DoSM defines the unemployed as people who do not have a job, are available for work, and are actively looking for work.

However, they do not include those who do not work because of illness but have a job to return to, and those who are temporarily laid off with pay.

The employed, meanwhile, are defined by DoSM as “all persons who, at any time during the reference week worked at least one hour for pay, profit, or family gain either as an employer, employee, own-account worker or unpaid family worker”.

Some sectors of the economy are better placed to weather current labour market conditions. For instance, government servants have not lost their jobs. Indeed, most of our heroic front-liners — doctors, nurses, policemen and soldiers — have gone the extra mile to keep us all safe. Employees of government-linked companies have also been able to keep their jobs.

In the private sector, employees in essential services have been largely spared. However, many other sectors are adversely affected. In particular, vulnerable industries such as aviation, tourism and hospitality will take one to two years to recover.

In the post-Covid 19 economic landscape, we will have to deal with some serious challenges in the labour market. Covid-19 has exposed our over-reliance on foreign labour. Replacing them with locals, particularly in the field of “3D Jobs”, is key to reducing their number.

Accelerating digitalisation is unsettling the labour market. Retraining and upskilling workers is essential for our labour force to remain globally competitive in the future economy.

The 290,000 young Malaysians who graduate annually will find it challenging to be employed at this time. More jobs must be created to unlock their potential.

There is a need to improve our data collection capabilities on the labour market. We need more comprehensive and timely data to effectively respond to changes on the ground.

Employees in the informal sector are inadequately protected from Covid-19. We must strengthen our social safety net for informal workers, many of whom risk insolvency without a stable job.

The pandemic has accelerated change in the nature of work. In the past, an employee would spend his/her whole career with one employer, moving up the ladder within an organisation over the course of decades.

Today, a person will probably work for 10 employers in his/her lifetime. In fact, some people are now taking up two jobs simultaneously!

This challenging market is the reason why RM9.55 billion out of RM35 billion in Penjana was earmarked for the benefit of wage-earners.

Out of this, RM2 billion was allocated to enhance the employability of the unemployed through retraining programmes.

Job creation is one of the main pillars of the Penjana package. The entire world is grappling with widespread unemployment as a result of the pandemic.

This crisis is, and will continue to be, a challenge for all of us. In the United States, for example, the unemployment rate is about 14 per cent, which is more than the population of Malaysia.

Indeed, the OECD and other international organisations have stated that Covid-19 will leave countries with deep and permanent economic scars, far exceeding the effects of any other peacetime recession in the past century.

However, the Mandarin word for crisis, “weiji”, is composed of two characters — one meaning danger and the other opportunity. As challenging as things are, this is also an opportunity to revitalise, reorganise, strengthen, and ultimately future-proof our economy.

Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, wrote that “the ultimate resource in economic development is people”.

The government will continue to invest in the rakyat.

We will ramp up our digital agenda; reduce the number of foreign workers from two million people to perhaps one million; and revamp our school and university curriculum. In this way, unemployment is addressed in both the immediate and the long term.

This is an opportunity to prepare Malaysians for the jobs of the future. Let’s not miss the boat.


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Prepare necessary skills for future job applications

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
Despite grim short-term projections of the labour market, the outlook for economic growth is expected to improve over the second half of 2020 and 2021. – File picDespite grim short-term projections of the labour market, the outlook for economic growth is expected to improve over the second half of 2020 and 2021. – File pic

LETTER: Those who have felt the brunt of the economic meltdown during this ongoing pandemic are the youth of the world.

The souring economy brought about by the pandemic could affect over 50,000 fresh graduates in Malaysia this year, against the backdrop of an already alarming graduate unemployment rate stemming from job shortages and skills mismatch.

The Class of 2020 is particularly at risk of graduating into a recession, owing to immense economic fallout. A brewing economic storm is likely to trigger tightened hiring and limited job vacancies, raising the risk of unemployment fresh out of graduation.

As competition grows due to increased demand from returning students and pupils whose placements have been suspended overseas during the summer, internships will also be in shorter supply. This will leave a void in their resumes.

Besides, several key networking events for graduating students are likely to be cancelled. This includes ‘The London Malaysian Career Fair’ hosted by UKEC-GRADUAN, where Malaysian students in the UK and Ireland seek employment opportunities. The physical fair has now been turned into a virtual platform instead in light of the lockdown. Increasingly strict measures of social distancing would eventually interrupt the activities of social causes that will characterise this generation.

During the MCO, the domestic economy will operate at around 45 per cent of its capacity. The labour market is also predicted to be considerably weaker, as warned by the central bank. The unemployment rate is expected to increase to 4 per cent. The country’s unemployment rate was 3.7 per cent during the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis and 3.2 per cent during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998.

Younger employees tend to have more difficulties seeking and retaining jobs in a recession. For example, during the Global Financial Crisis, the unemployment rate for all jobs across the world was at 10.2 per cent – around half were between the ages of 16 and 24.

Fresh graduates are far from able to reap the benefits of the periodical release of fiscal stimulus packages worth RM250 billion. This key policy response designed by Malaysia, among other things, is intended to help employers retain workers. This relief would do more for those who are already employed rather than for fresh graduates who wish to enter the labour market.

As the pandemic drags on, here are what youth can do. They must switch from being reactive to being proactive. Focus not on getting through the downturn, but on being able to manoeuvre the upturn when it comes.

This lull time is an optimal period to address skills gaps that may hinder the attractiveness of future job applications and to earn mentorship on how to develop themselves. This pertains not only to employees who are struggling to keep their jobs, but also to those of us who are still studying and have yet to enter the job market.

We’re landing on a note of hope. Despite grim short-term projections of the labour market, the outlook for economic growth is expected to improve over the second half of 2020 and 2021. Analysts anticipate that countries will get back to work once the pandemic is under control.

Perhaps Malaysia could even transform this unprecedented crisis into an unprecedented opportunity, if we play our cards correctly.

by Ain Nurfitrah Aidrul Hisham

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As joblessness rises, HR Minister says M’sians must take any job available

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: As the unemployment rate is expected to rise further, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan says Malaysians must change their mindset and accept any job that they can get.

He said that it was better to work in the so-called 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) jobs than to be unemployed as long as one could put food on the table.

“There needs to be a change in mindset so that the rakyat will accept whatever jobs (are available). There are enough opportunities, ” he said in a live conversation with Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Facebook on Tuesday (May 12).

Saravanan said the ministry and the agencies under it like the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) would organise training to reskill and upskill workers.

“Before this, foreign workers were working only in the lowly sectors. But today, they have become skilled workers. These sectors should be taken over by locals, ” he said.

Malaysia reported a 17.1% increase in unemployed persons to 610,500 in March this year as a result of the the movement control Order (MCO) that hit businesses as the government sought to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saravanan said that all parties — employees and employers — should be sincere and not threaten one another as it was no longer business as usual.

He asked why some employers preferred to hire foreigners over locals, and said that he believed some employers preferred foreign workers as they wouldn’t have to make contributions towards the Employers Provident Fund (EPF) and the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

“I’m just asking employers not to take advantage of them. Pay the workers a good wage, and they will work. Don’t give the excuse of a small percentage of locals not wanting to work, ” he said.

He also urged Malaysians to consider job opportunities overseas, giving the example of Japan where he said the basic salary was RM8,500 for a bottom-level job.

He said he was in discussions with the Japanese embassy on employment opportunities there.

“All Malaysians across the board have to change their mindset and accept change for survival. This is not the time to talk about plans and dreams. That has to be put aside, ” he said.


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Virus fast-tracks organisations’ digital transformation

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

File photo from Bernama.

KOTA KINABALU: The Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked digital transformation in organisations, said JobStreet Malaysia Country Manager Gan Bock Herm.

The current situation, he said, has rapidly re-shaped the way organisation and employees communicate and work as well as the deployment of technologies such as Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics to cope with the pandemic’s onset.

“These changes also impact the skills that are required in the workforce as well as how recruitment processes are done,” he said in a statement, Tuesday.

“Almost overnight, organisations not only had to speed up their digital transformation but more importantly, maintain a humanised recruitment process.”

He added, JobStreet Malaysia’s Laws of Attraction study found that 34 per cent of Gen Z find it acceptable to have interviews through video calls than other generations, as compared to Gen Y at 32 per cent and Gen X at 30 per cent.

“For contrast, just 19 per cent of Baby Boomers found video interviews acceptable. This further signifies the importance of organisations humanising the whole recruitment process.

“For example, a smart organisation would adapt to provide an immersive experience and making the session feel more like a two-way conversation.

“Talents, in turn, can get a real feel for the company values, culture or even team members as they would be ‘there in person’,” he said.

The Laws of Attraction recruitment study, he said, offered an insightful data from more than 10,000 local candidates, cutting across over 25 industries.

“The study is especially timely for organisations seeking to build and retain teams that agilely combine skills and mindsets needed in the path toward post-Covid economic recovery.

“For Malaysian organisations seeking to navigate their way forward after the lifting of Movement Control Order (MCO), these findings go hand in hand with the government stimulus package which is designed to help retain existing workforce and secure new talents toward rebuilding.”

The study reveals thinking driving four generations of job seekers from Gen Z: aged 18-23, Gen Y: aged 24-34, Gen X: aged 35-54 up to Baby Boomers aged: 55-65.

Gan further said, work-life balance is the second most common factor across all generations and an important sub-driver for work-life balance is the ability to work from home or remotely.

“This has proven particularly important and relevant to the current situation as the Malaysian Government enforces social distancing and the MCO to contain Covid-19.

“It is shaping to be a requirement, rather than an option, at a time when organisations in non-essential industries to operate remotely to ensure business continuity.

“The Laws of Attraction findings further assist organisations to understand the perception of working from home from the four generations.

“It reveals 72 per cent of Gen X prefer to work from home, closely followed by Gen Y with 71 per cent, Gen Z trails with 64 per cent and Baby Boomers at 66 per cent,” he said.

Malaysians, he added, are receptive toward working from home or remotely, given the higher than 50 per cent approval rating from all generations.

Gan said, the two major factors of driving changes in the multigeneration workforce are demographic and technological transformation.

“In terms of demographics, each generation has different ways of communicating, different ways of working, and each with different expectations for employers.

“It is necessary to manage such an expectation in order to be able to work efficiently.”

The Laws of Attraction, he said, gave detail for organisations to understand these generational characteristics and enable them to effectively attract, building teamwork while adapting to economic changes.

“With four generations working together, organisations and recruiters need to pay attention to the subtleties of multi-generational cooperation so that the organisation can successfully maximise integration, collaboration and engagement toward business recovery as well as sustainability,” he said.

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Malaysian youths want careers that make a difference

Sunday, March 15th, 2020
A NEW breed of talents are entering the job market and they want meaningful careers that can lead to a better tomorrow.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said it’s a trend among fresh graduates to join green and socially responsible companies.

Millennials, he said, see themselves as socially responsible individuals with the potential to change the world.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said its members have also noted a similar trend – particularly among the post-millennial generation of students who are now entering university and joining the workforce.

“These youths have a greater sense of keenness to make a difference and to make an impact.

“We see an increasing number of students joining social enterprises where they can build careers while using their skills to help society.”

The trend, he said, cuts across all programmes.

Technology graduates look at this as an opportunity to develop innovative solutions to address societal needs, while business and finance graduates work towards enhancing community involvement among those who were previously left out of mainstream economic activity, he said.

“It’s exciting and gratifying to see students from different countries working together to address problems from all over the world.

“Being in an integrated, international campus creates strong global mindsets,” he said.
(From left): Eric Bryan Amaladas, Shamsuddin Bardan, Kamilia Ghazali and Pamjit Singh

(From left): Eric Bryan Amaladas, Shamsuddin Bardan, Kamilia Ghazali and Pamjit Singh
Universiti Malaya (UM) deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Prof Dr Kamila Ghazali said students are increasingly interested in working with non-governmental organisations and policy reform organisations.

Millennials, she said, tend to gravitate towards jobs that impact society or certain segments of the community.

“Our students are concerned about social and cultural changes as a result of political and economic situations and issues on equality and inclusively.

“They seem to be taking up jobs that can effect change.”

This, she said, could be the result of the varsity’s curriculum which emphasises community engagement and volunteerism.

“In the current curriculum review that’s taking place, we introduced the Student Holistic Environment (SHE) programme which will inculcate a holistic worldview among our students beyond their own majors.”

SHE courses are categorised into four clusters: thinking matters; emotional, physical and spiritual intelligence; technology/artificial intelligence and data analytics; and global issues and community sustainability.

Among the job considerations of this new breed of talents, said Shamsuddin, is their perceived fit with the organisation.

“Much of a job applicant’s initial attraction to an organisation is based on the company’s image.

“Companies with a reputation for being more responsible are more attractive to jobseekers who want to contribute to a better world.”

Another pull factor may be the social role that the job affords them, for example, allowing them to help their local communities.

“An attractive salary is important but it is not the only factor that jobseekers look for.

“Organisations with good standing on social responsibility and environmental sustainability are increasingly being considered as these factors can motivate and give employees a sense of pride,” said Shamsuddin.

Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS) former chairman Datuk Zuraidah Atan said the new Cambridge International survey (see graphics) reflects today’s workforce.

“YSS was set up by the Government to promote volunteerism among students.

“We remind our youths not to romanticise the hard work that goes into addressing global issues but all our volunteer leaders are passionate and have participated in movements that make a difference.”

Business administration and resource management graduate Irdina Batrisyia Riza Adami joined YSS as a management trainee.

The 23-year-old wants to build student capacity through volunteerism, which led her to YSS.

CAREERsense@HELP director Eric Bryan Amaladas said these days, employers and employees are on the same page when it comes to social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

“We’re seeing more fresh graduates aspire to contribute to society through the careers that they pick.

“But the trend is more evident in the urban areas. Those in the rural areas tend to be more concerned about whether they can make a good living.”

He, however, said it did not mean that everyone was rushing out to join Green Peace.

The little things, like whether their prospective employer adopts socially responsible initiatives at the work place, are among the factors youngsters today take into consideration when looking for a job.

Bebiyana Bidin, 24, is a clinical dietitian in Tawau, Sabah. Currently pursuing a Master’s in Community Nutrition, she is specialising in food insecurity among communities in rural Malaysia.

“My boarding school friends are children of farmers and rubber tappers so they only got proper nutrition at the hostel.

“When I was volunteering at an orphanage, I realised that the majority of the children there weren’t orphans.

“Parents who couldn’t afford to support all their children, sent some of them to orphanages for a better life and an education.

“Both these experiences gave me an insight into the struggles faced by the poor.”

She hopes to make a career from helping these communities.

Youths today are more aware and assertive in environmental, climate and global issues, according to the UCSI Group Corporate Affairs.

UCSI University, it said, facilitates and helps students develop their passion through its sustainable development goals.

“Our programme modules are constantly revised so that our graduates are able to frame ideas to solve global challenges across sectors,” the Group said.

Mechanical engineering student Soh Soon Yew, 21, wants to work on innovations that can improve safety, reliability and functionality, in the automative industry.

“I want to make better quality and cheaper products that are accessible to everyone.”

Liew Seow Peng, 22, who’s studying actuarial science and finance, wants to use his knowledge to serve the underprivileged.

“My internship exposed me to an urban poor financial inclusion and credit access project. I want to make things better.”

Job trend spotting: boon or bane?

Thursday, March 5th, 2020
It is very difficult to keep up with job trends as it is constantly shifting and evolving. Pic source:

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.

Haida Tahir.

“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.”

By Rozana Sani.

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Emerging job trends

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

Youths need to engage with the working world to better understand the direction employment opportunities are taking and strategise their future careers. – Pic source: Freepik

WE often hear of how fresh university graduates are unable to get jobs due to a misalignment of qualifications with current market demands.

Skills that they acquire when studying are often obsolete even before they enter the job market.

With predictions of a bulk of present jobs disappearing in the future, the situation is set to worsen if their eyes are not trained on what the future holds in terms of emerging and future job trends.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its recent report, Dream Jobs: Teenagers’ Career Aspirations and the Future of Work, cited that “at a glance, it is clear that it is overwhelmingly jobs with origins in the 20th century or earlier that are most attractive to young people”.

The report, based on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 data, analyses changes (or lack of) of career aspirations of young people — specifically 15-year-olds — since 2000.

Traditional jobs like doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, businessmen remain among the top of their lists although there are emerging jobs that they should also look to for a promising future.

In the report, OECD director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher said it is of concern that labour market signals are failing to reach young people and that “many young people anticipate pursuing jobs that are at high risk of being automated”.

This would give an impact on the job market in terms of human capital that is needed in years to come.

Youths need to engage with the working world to better understand the direction employment opportunities are taking and strategise their future careers.

To help young people better understand the direction employment opportunities are taking and strategise their future careers, Higher ED highlights five emerging jobs that are categorised as among the in-demand future careers in the job market not only in Malaysia but also in countries around the world.

By having a view of emerging job trends, it is hoped that students would be inspired to draw up study plans and select career choices and pathways as early as schooling years up to university level that will ensure success in future careers and work environments.

Many of the fastest growing jobs and predicted future ones are driven by technology development, increased Internet connectivity, rapid globalisation and new business demands.

Tech skills are required in jobs across industries in different roles and functions and this is expected to create demand for tech-based or tech-related jobs.

Jobs like artificial intelligence specialists and data scientists are required across industries to help organisations and businesses be more efficient in delivering their products and services, and be more responsive to customer demands in anticipated increased competition.

Existing jobs like content creators are now being taken to the next level and being given new dimensions by technology to reach a wider audience through multiple channels and platforms.

New jobs like privacy officers cater to the privacy and security concerns of personal data being put on commercial platforms driven by the popularity of e-commerce


Seen here is the Intelligent and Interactive Advertising Panel, that can recognise gender and age by using face recognition technology and deep learning; a project by Universiti Malaya AI specialist Associate Professor Dr Chan Chee Seng with his industry partner.

Although artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time, the field is still in its infancy and has only recently started to gain momentum.

AI, said Associate Professor Dr Norisma Idris, is a branch of computer science that aims to create intelligent machines that mimic human intelligence.

“There are varying kinds and degrees of intelligence in people such as decision-making, reasoning, language understanding and learning. AI tries to understand and model intelligence as a computational process. The ultimate effort is to make computer programs that can solve problems and achieve goals in the world as well as humans,” said the head of Department of Artificial Intelligence at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology.

“Most of AI specialists work in applied AI to program smart systems that can think like humans. For example, to recognise a face (face recognition), address questions or instructions (chatbot) and solve problems.

“AI specialists mostly work at research centres of universities, small AI development companies, banking sectors, automotive industries, healthcare facilities and government agencies,” said Norisma.

There are many sub-areas of AI such as Fuzzy Logic, Neural Network, Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

Many of the popular recent applications of AI in industry have been based on Machine Learning (ML), which gives computers the ability to learn, improve business decisions, increase productivity, detect disease, forecast weather, etc.”

Currently, the most hot-trend application is Sentiment Analysis, a type of text mining or text analysis which can be used to review products for business, predict highs and lows of stock markets, and identify views expressed by people in political debates.

Norisma said maths and science are important for those who want to go into AI as these form the backbone of most AI programs.

On top of that, they need to acquire knowledge and skills on Cognitive Science, Machine Learning, Neural Computing, Robotics and Natural Language Processing.

“Currently, most AI specialists have Master or Doctoral degrees (PhD) specialising in any AI fields. However, due to the current demands from the industry, AI specialists can be those who have a Bachelor Degree with AI as their specialisation,” said Norisma.


Advancement in technology and usage has turned drones into strategic tools requiring personnel like drone technologists.

Drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are often regarded as big boys’ toys.

But development in UAS technology has made individuals, commercial entities and governments realise that drones have multiple and even strategic uses.

Universiti Malaysia Perlis Centre of Excellence for Unmanned Aerial Systems (COEUAS) director Professor Dr Hazry Desa said drones these days come in many forms, divided into classes, size, range and capacity for autonomous flight.

Most are controlled remotely by a human pilot on the ground. Some can fly along pre-set coordinates or patterns, or land if they lose contact with the pilot.

As such they can be used in agriculture solutions like precision crop monitoring, aerial photography and videography for journalism and film, law enforcement and border control surveillance, unmanned cargo transport, and aerial mapping and survey.

Hazry said that to advance further in the area, Malaysia must develop its own drone technology and drone technologists.

“We cannot rely on the technology of others or else we will always become followers. It is not necessary for drone technologists to understand how to build the drone in depth. More importantly, they have to understand how to repair or maintain the drone and use the drone according to the requirement of safety standards.

“To use the drone, it is necessary to know how to fly the drone as well as process data that is acquired in when utilising the drone. Apart from collecting and understanding the data, they also must be able to analyse the data,” he said.

To become a drone technologist, acquiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licence is a basic requirement to become a certified UAS operator in certain countries.

“It is also important to understand mechatronics engineering, which includes knowledge in computer and electrical engineering.

“Other important knowledge includes videography if you want to make a corporate video; Geographic Information System (GIS ) and Photogrammetry if you want to become an aerial surveyor; and image processing or pattern recognition if you want to be involved in aerial inspection,” he said.


Data scientists help organisations make data-driven decisions.

Mention the word scientist and the image that comes to mind is someone sitting in a lab conducting research in natural or physical sciences for the betterment of life.

These days, another category of scientist is emerging — data scientist.

According to Dr Ho Chiung Ching, dean and senior lecturer at Multimedia University’s Faculty of Computing and Informatics, a data scientist is “someone who knows how to extract meaning from and interpret data”.

“He or she spends a lot of time on collecting, cleaning and munging data because a data is never clean. This process requires persistence, statistics and software engineering skills.

“Once he or she gets the data into shape, a crucial part is exploratory data analysis, which combines visualisation and data sense.The data scientist will help an organisation make data-driven decisions, as well as make sense of the data owned by the organisation in order to derive hidden insights, which can be used to drive activities that are profitable, or activities that will benefit the organisation,” explained Ho.

Data science, he said, is relevant in almost every industry. The recent growth of interest in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) will also see data science being used increasingly for industrial use cases.

Ho said a data scientist needed to have knowledge in mathematics, statistics and programming (that is, programming languages such as Python, R, SQL, Java, Spark and Scala).

“A university degree is a good starting point — and for technical leadership positions, a postgraduate degree is useful to develop the research skills needed to solve increasingly complex problems. Having said that, online learning courses are good as supplemental material for the budding data scientist.”


Content creators must be able to deliver on multiplatform channels.

The fact that the Internet has democratised access to creation and distribution tools is giving rise to a more dynamic content industry.

Digital content is created, curated, exchanged and consumed by the day across the world, paving new ways on how content can be presented, said Associate Professor Dr Massila Hamzah, dean of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

“For content providers, it means delivering what the audience wants, in whatever form the audience wants and whenever the audience wants it.

“The content industry can no longer afford to limit themselves to only providing offline and on-air content through media like print or radio and television content, they need to expand further and look at all digital platform content requirements.

“There is no such thing as one content fits all, but to provide content for all platforms. Adding to the challenge, the timeframe to create these content is getting shorter and shorter,” she said.

Therefore, with an ever-changing content demand, there is a demand for talents who are multitalented and can serve many digital platforms such as photographers, graphic designers, writers, podcasters, gamers and video producers.

Creative content creators should be savvy in a plethora of digital platforms, are organised and creative, analytical and associative, disciplined and do a lot of diverse reading.

“Continuous attention to writing excellence and good production practices enhances agility in creative work. If talents possess high standards of writing, it will lead to lower editing costs, better reusability and overall faster completion time.

“Language mastery is vital and for those who can communicate multilingually verbally and in writing, they will be an asset to the industry. Besides that, in terms of personality, today’s employers expect their workforce to be adaptable, versatile and agile. Again, this is to cater to an audience who has diverse interests but also uses several different digital platforms,” she said.


The sharing of personal information online requires privacy officers to ensure the data is secure.

With commercial entities like banks and insurance companies, shopping platforms, utilities and telecommunication service providers being more connected to the Net and offering their services via online access, there are concerns about data privacy and security among customers.

This has given rise to demands that companies and governments ensure that the data collected from customers or users are kept safe and secure, and has led to the creation of laws in various countries around the world that protect customer information from being misused or misapplied by parties concerned.

In Malaysia, according to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Law Faculty dean Professor Dr Nazura Abdul Manap, these concerns are being addressed by The Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA).

PDPA stipulates provisions that protect users from any form of abuse in the storage or processing of personal data of individuals, public and private sectors in Malaysia for commercial transactions.

“To ensure that these rules are being complied with, there is a potential for an emerging demand for such commercial entities to employ privacy officers who would look into data privacy, privacy compliance, privacy law and policies. This is especially important in view of IR 4.0 developments, particularly in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The focus should not just be on compliance within Malaysian borders but also in other countries where the data is shared if the business involves cross-border transactions,” she said.

The role of privacy officers is to ensure that the handling of personal data complies with data protection rules.

“While it is not necessary for privacy officers to have a background in law, they must be aware of the relevant rules, able to carry out compliance and auditing activities. It requires meticulousness to carry out the job,” she said.

By Rozana Sani.

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