Improving on soft skills for optimum employability

According to The Human Resource Ministry of Malaysia in 2004 fresh graduates nowadays unable to meet the expectation of the corporate sector and most of the fresh graduates are only good in theory. Graduates nowadays lack of the right skills which employers wants, such as team-working, leadership and communication, aswell as verbal and numerical reasoning. (Adult Learning, 2007) As the senior manager of NEP Holding (M) Berhad Kathy Yap said that, today’s graduates do have the basic academic knowledge however mostly is only on the theory part, yet they do not have the actual practice experience. Yet, mostly graduates these days are looking for higher salary and lesser working hours end up they tend to be choosy about job which without any working experience. Besides, the knowledge gains in university by graduates are not fully prepared them from transition into the working world. (Marzuki,2010) Other than that, the graduates nowadays are having poor communication skills especially in English (Prof Dr Mohd Fauzi Ramlan, 2010). He also stated that they should improve in their English. From the views of the employers to the fresh graduates today’s in Malaysia, mostly of the graduates are still unable to meet the requirement of the employers, although most of them score will in their examination and score minimum CGPA of 3.00 or a second class upper honor, the graduates still unable to meet the expectations of employers. As that, majority of fresh graduates although are well educated yet having limited skills, while firms today’s increasingly demand high skilled workers.

As my personal opinion, employers nowadays require from the fresh graduates definitely more only then the basic knowledge, because it is not enough by only having all the technical skill only. Employers are looking for a more flexible, adaptable workforce (Clarke, 1997; Bennett, 2002) as the employees are able and already prepare for changes and adopt as what market needs yet, they are also looking for those who are willing or make a positive to contribute to the organization. The employees nowadays mostly are more requiring the employees having specific experience levels and skills set when offering jobs, yet they are unwilling to accept the employees which are unqualified. They are looking for the graduates’ who have both soft and technical skill and graduates who think out of the box. Those soft skills which the employers are looking suck as teamwork, innovativeness critical, lateral thinking, problem solving skills, punctuality, analyzing skills and the most important is having good language skills, especially English. (Coplin,2004). This is because employees must be able to communicate with their business customers or others employees in order that misunderstanding or misleading can be avoided as they may do not understand the employees. So being able to speak well English has been the priority for the employer to hire you as their employees. Other than that, social skills, presentations skills, financial management skills, time management skills or creative thinking skills are also playing an important role as in order for the employers to hire an employee. Besides, employees are also looking for graduates who have the passion, enthusiasm and interest to continue broadening theirs horizons and enhancing their knowledge’s and skills. (Lee, 2010) As to Kalie Pauw (2010) there are many graduates lack of soft skills when they start their careers. However, in different industry there are different skills required. For example, in marketing field, they are looking for the skills and qualities such as good time management skills, creative, enthusiastic, communication skill and confidence in putting forward ideas. Yet as in accounting field, skills in area of intellectual capital accounting and management, communication skills, traditional accounting and financial skills, strategies scenario planning and skills in use of data and knowledge’s is require. ( Datuk Mohd Nasir, 2010) As in New Zealand there is 27 oral communication skills are required to being an accountant (Grey, 2009) yet it also be the same as in Malaysia. This is because, as the employers hire an accountant, the technical skills and softer skills are require in order to enable sustainable business success, and plays an important role for giving advises on strategy and decision-making for the organization.

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At the same time, according to Hamidah Nazaidin, CIMB Investment Bank (CIMB) Director said that, they are looking for fresh graduates who are confidents and able to carry themselves well as they posses’ good communication and people skills and having the right attitude. Besides, according to Nora Mahbob the Hr director of L’Oreal Malaysia they are emphasis on the talent and passion of the individual, they are looking for the individual who are potential, open minded and able or willing to change according to market needs. As to Pauline Ho, the partner of Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC) the company are looking for those employee who have soft skills ability to think on their feet, and those who are active university and could manage their project well during their university life. Other than that, PwC also looking for the employee who has leadership skills and team work. Not only PwC are looking for leadership skills when they hire new graduates, KPMG is also looking for those fresh graduates who have the leadership skills. They are looking for the graduates who have strong academic credentials but as well as having leadership skills (Siew, 2010). As you can see, soft skills are getting more important than technical skill in this 21st century, a lot company now required and expects defiantly more than only technical skill however they are hoping and expecting to hire an employee who have the technical skill and as well as having those soft skills such as leadership, communication, management skills and etc.

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Fresh graduates could develop those soft skills through experiences. The fastest way they could develop those soft skills is they should identify on the area of soft skills which they may do not have it and work on strengthen on the area which they do not have it. For example, if you as the fresh graduates and have the fear of public speaking, you could join a debating team to overcome the fear (CPA, Australia). Other then that, to improve the leadership and team works skills, you could join a basketball team or a foot ball team in order to develop the leadership skill and team-working skills. As you can see, playing these activities it requires a lot of leadership skill and especially team work. Therefore, leaderships and team work skills could be easily to develop by joining those team sports.

In conclusion, soft skills aren’t always something we’re born with, but they can be developed through experiences in our personal and professional lives. (CPA, Australia). Those fresh graduates today’s should self-critics and get improvement on their soft skills in order to get employed as while as myself should get improvement in my soft skills such as research skills, communication skills, leadership skills and etc before it is too late.

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