Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Human Capital

Times Higher Education Supplement just released the new ranking last week and I have blogged earlier on the poorer performance of our local universities. Prime Minister touched on it as well during the Cornell Club of Malaysia's Dinner.

Instead of the typical Malaysian way of finding excuses, Prime Minister admitted that he is saddened by the drop in ranking and he was saying that while he is hoping for improvement of our universities, the ranking has been sliding over the past few years. He wanted all our fellow Malaysians to work together to help our local universities to grow and improve.

Prime Minister, when being asked on how we could leverage on the Malaysian talents, especially many Malaysians who are alumni of prestigious universities, he suggested that those people could take up Adjunct Professor at local universities. He suggested much greater collaborations between industry and our local institutions of higher learning.

He encouraged fellow Malaysians in the audience, to bring up suggestions to him, on how to improve the quality of education in our country. It is a national mission for all of us to value add. Prime Minister mentioned that 2 very important key words are Human Capital and Value Add.

He encouraged many of those who are in the audience, who are already long in the corporate world, to continue to develop oneself. Without continuous improvement and learning, we would not be able to value add.

Speaking on this issue, I recall an article I read in Sin Chew today. It is on a survey of starting salary of our fresh grad. It is very sad with the current situation. Among those who have graduated from local universities (public and private), as well as colleges, community colleges and technical institutions, only a mere 45% manage to find a job within 6 months of graduation. Another 18% further studies, 1% take up additional skill sets/training, 6% waiting for job, and this means a staggering 30% of them fail to get any job offer within 6 months.

What is more staggering is the pay of those who did manage to get an offer. Only a mere 27% of them manage to get a pay above RM2,000 a month. 44% get between RM1,000 and RM2,000. 24% get a pay between RM500 and RM1,000 a month, whereas a remaining 5% get a pay below RM500 a month. This is definitely shocking, especially these degree and diploma holders are earning quite low pay.

What is wrong? What is the mismatch between what provided by institutions of higher learning and what the market needs? Is it because of our employers are paying too little? Is it because of our graduates are under-qualified? Is it because of the language issue? Is it because of the attitude of the graduates?

What say you?

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