Are Malaysian university graduates ready for work?

Researchers in Malaysia are recommending an assessment tool for measuring whether university graduates have the practical skills required to enter the work force.

From 2007 until 2010, the number of unemployed graduates had steadily increased to over 30,000.


Researchers in Malaysia are recommending an assessment tool for measuring whether university graduates have the practical skills required to enter the work force.

Called the Graduate Employability Model (GEM), this tool would aim to address employability issues that currently plague Malaysian higher education. According to the researchers, who explain the GEM in a recent Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities concept paper, the current Malaysian education system primarily rewards rote learning rather than skills better suited to a modern workplace.

Malaysian data indicates “a massive gap” between what higher education provides and what employers seek in graduates. From 2007 until 2010, “the number of unemployed graduates had steadily increased to over 30,000 at both the diploma and degree levels,” notes the Universiti Teknologi MARA research team. Meanwhile in 2008, 67% of private companies increased their international worker population, “indicating that employers seem to favour foreigners and expatriates over local graduates.”

Since Malaysia already has an intricate and comprehensive system of screening for university entrance, the researchers propose an equally comprehensive system for screening work-related capabilities before students graduate. Apart from certification of their technical knowledge, graduates would be evaluated for generic skills such as communication, problem solving, critical thinking and other key elements that determine their employability. If graduates fail to display the requisite skills, the GEM would help identify and isolate specific areas of weakness that they can target for improvement or enhancement before they seek employment.

“In view of the worrying trends in graduate unemployment, [we need] to reflect upon, research, plan, survey, construct and administer [an] employability assessment tool to help us to rectify the shortcomings or enhance the quality of our graduates as they exit university,” state the authors. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many students graduated with a first class honors ... [but rather] how many of them can contribute positively to their respective fields...”

For more information about this research, please contact:

Parmjit Singh
Mathematics Department, Faculty of Education
Universiti Technologi MARA
Selangor, Malaysia
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +(603)5522 7396; Mobile: +(6013) 3500 567

About Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities (JSSH)

Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities (JSSH) is published by Universiti Putra Malaysia in English and is open to authors around the world regardless of nationality. It is published four times a year in March, June, September and December. Other Pertanika series include Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science (JTAS), and Pertanika Journal of Science & Technology (JST).

JSSH aims to develop as a pioneer journal for the social sciences with a focus on emerging issues pertaining to the social and behavioural sciences as well as the humanities. Areas relevant to the scope of the journal include Social Sciences—Accounting, anthropology, Archaeology and history, Architecture and habitat, Consumer and family economics, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Law, Management studies, Media and communication studies, Political sciences and public policy, Population studies, Psychology, Sociology, Technology management, Tourism; Humanities—Arts and culture, Dance, Historical and civilisation studies, Language and Linguistics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Religious studies, Sports.

The journal publishes original academic articles dealing with research on issues of worldwide relevance. The journals cater for scientists, professors, researchers, post-docs, scholars and students who wish to promote and communicate advances in the fields of Social Sciences & Humanities research.


For more information about the journal, contact:

The Chief Executive Editor (UPM Journals)
Head, Journal Division, UPM Press
Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (R&I)
IDEA Tower 2, UPM-MDTC Technology Centre
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 Serdang, Selangor Malaysia

Phone: +(603) 8947 1622 | +(6016) 217 4050
Email: [email protected]

Published: 23 Jun 2015

Contact details:

Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) 43400 UPM Serdang Selangor Malaysia

+603 8947 1622
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