Following the recent introduction of the Graduate Employability Management (GEM) portal, recent graduates are expressing optimism about their employability prospects.

Nivesh Naga Raja, a 23-year-old Multimedia University computer science graduate, acknowledged the challenges of finding a job in his field with adequate pay. He sees the GEM portal as a potential solution to address underemployment and assist fresh graduates in securing well-paying jobs, aligning with their academic pursuits.

Launched by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin at the 2023 Graduate Labour Market Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 1, the GEM portal is tailored for graduates under the ministry seeking practical training and employment opportunities. The platform aims to facilitate better outreach for employers to hire fresh graduates based on their academic backgrounds.

Mohamed Khaled highlighted that the platform sets a "premium salary rate" of RM4,000, derived from a pilot project by Universiti Sains Malaysia for electrical and electronic (E&E) talent. Discussions are underway to propose similar premium rates for sectors beyond E&E.

Darren Chen, a Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS electrical engineering graduate, sees GEM as a gateway to secure well-paying job opportunities in a field with a shortage of engineers. Aiman Alya Ahmad Fuzaimi, a Universiti Teknologi Malaysia public relations graduate, expressed hope that the portal's launch indicates better-paying job opportunities, emphasizing the need for premium salary rates beyond the E&E sector.

Acknowledging the challenges graduates face, Mohamed Khaled emphasized ongoing efforts to achieve the premium salary rate, including collaboration with industry professionals. Various initiatives and strategies, such as job matching and the GEM portal, have been implemented to align graduates with market demands and minimize the risks of unemployment and underemployment.

The ministry aims to collaborate with the Investment, Trade, and Industry Ministry to identify industry needs in line with the New Industrial Master Plan 2030. Specific industries, including the halal sector, finance and banking, transportation, and standard auditing, are being studied for potential premium salary rates.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman praised the initiative, emphasizing the importance of any channel that aids graduates in accessing the job market. He suggested considering premium salary rates for various sectors, as salaries are influenced by market and sector dynamics.

Mohamed Khaled also emphasized that universities should not require students to pay more than RM1,500 upon registration next year, aligning with the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) advance loan value. Disregarding these rules may prompt intervention by the ministry.


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