Nearly 40% of graduates are having a hard time getting well-paid jobs that match their skillset due to factors such as wage stagnation and the supply of skilled employment, said Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Chang Lih Kang.

Chang said the only way to resolve this is to take a “whole-of-government approach”, which would require extensive investments on education and skill development, including upskilling and re-skilling in areas such as digital technologies, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

“The main challenges are limited vacancies in high-skilled occupations, as jobs are predominantly in the semi-skilled category, and weak linkages between the supply and demand that is contributing to skill-related underemployment and wage stagnation among Malaysian skilled talents,” said Chang in his speech at the opening of the “Accenture Ascension 2024: The Converging Frontier” conference held at W Hotel on Monday (May 4).

These challenges must be addressed, he said, to ensure the pool of Malaysia’s high-skilled professionals, including those in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, can gain employment in Malaysia, contributing to the country’s economic development.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Syahrul M Azmi, learning and leadership development lead at Accenture Malaysia, shared that according to the Fortune 500 leaders, talent shortage is the main threat to businesses.

To overcome this, almost 90% of business leaders said it is important for organisations to innovate with a purpose, while 94% of talents are ready to learn generative AI skills, he said during his talk titled “Talent Forward: Cultivating Skills for Innovation and Growth”.

“We need to make decisions that require courage and two very different skillsets that are required to come together. We need to foster a culture of comfort in discomfort,” he added.

Additionally, Chang stressed the importance of establishing partnerships with universities and academic institutions.

“These collaborations should aim to enhance curriculum development, provide industry insights and offer internship opportunities for students. By doing so, they can help bridge the gap between academia and industry, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared with the necessary skills for the workforce,” he added.

Chang also said there is a need to develop talent pipeline programmes aimed at attracting and retaining top talent in the country.

“These programmes could include initiatives such as graduate recruitment programmes, talent development pathways and leadership development programmes. Such measures will not only foster a robust talent pool, but also enhance the overall competitiveness of the workforce in Malaysia,” he said.

One such programme developed by Accenture is the My Corporate Citizenship (MyCC). Accenture’s business architecture senior manager, Robin Low said that the company has invested RM2.5 million in funds and resources for the past 10 years across multiple programmes for tech talent development.

“Our programmes have impacted 9,000 individuals today and it doesn’t stop there. Technology is advancing at a very disruptive pace and it will continue to have a profound impact on the community and society,” he said. – The Edge Malaysia


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