Young Adults Dilemma: Unemployment

There is a new monster on the loose – it’s not Freddy Krueger, not the Boogieman, not even the monster under your bed; it’s youth unemployment. In modern society, unemployment is the ghoul that lurks behind the shadow of your degree qualifications – one that precipitates quickly into nightmares in the minds of fresh graduates. This article serves to shine some light on this hard-pressing issue that is plaguing the young.

In an exclusive survey done by Ipoh Echo, we have discovered a shocking reality that needs your attention. You may have seen the report published by the Malaysian Insight about a young Engineering graduate who is working as a house cleaner to make ends meet; a position she never expected to be in – which is quite reasonable given that engineering school was probably not the easiest collegiate course around. However, to really understand the full scope of this, imagine the same scenario but in the context of millions of young graduates.

“It’s horrible,” said Hari Chandra, a 29-year-old sales engineer from Penang when asked about his experiences looking for a job straight out of University. “It’s not exactly the field I was hoping for as I am inclined towards water treatment,” remarked Chandra.

Prompted with the same question, Business Development Executive KK Wong has this to say about finding a job, “cheap labour”. It’s a blunt response, but rightfully so. In fact, it is revealed in an article by the Vulcan Post that, despite popular opinion, fresh graduates have the potential to earn more than an RM2500 salary. However, it is only so if you enter the right industries as many still do earn that amount – especially in other states far from the capital Kuala Lumpur. “Finding a job was tedious and mundane,” said Tan Jun Lim, who got his job after recommendations from a relative.

Adversely, many Universities push the idea that the graduates they produce are always guaranteed a job once they leave the campus gates. According to Vivien, students often think life is indeed planned when they go to University, that earning a degree can guarantee a job – except nowadays everyone has a degree and it is as common as back-fence cats. During her internship as a student, she had to encounter not only unusual working hours from 11am to 9pm but she also had to endure working in a weathered warehouse, which was “dark” and seemed “unsafe”. Furthermore, Chandra argues that the support structure from Universities is insufficient. He claims that there is no proper way or channel to get a job through the usage of their University’s influence too. Understanding the issues at hand, he suggests that Universities should host walk-in interviews by firms whereby the interests are mutual; meaning that the corporation(s), the university and their students can reap the benefits gained from the interviews and subsequently, from employment.

Adversely, fresh graduates often have many tools at their disposal when looking for a job. Many look online through the many portals available such as Jobstreet and Mau Kerja, or they may have had recommendations from friends or family. “Graduates are very selective when it comes to job searching during this period” states business support professional known only by his moniker, CS.

When asked about what advice they would give to fresh graduates looking for a job, one interviewee asserted that they shouldn’t be too eager when looking for jobs; and they should leverage with their skills and knowledge. Furthermore, graduates should pursue a job that suits themselves and be patient – that the time will come, eventually. Another suggested that they should just get a job regardless of what it is, then grow from there to whatever they prefer as the experience can be beneficial in the future. Being confident is also something highlighted by other interviewees.

“Your degree or diploma is just a stepping stone for your interviews. Attitude does matter. The world doesn’t owe you. So be humble and like Steve Jobs said, stay hungry and stay foolish,” added Wong.

Interestingly, all interviewees maintain that their current occupations were not their dream jobs either. Some remarked that it wasn’t exactly the field they were hoping to be in, another stated that their dream job is still far from reach while the others said they didn’t even have one, to begin with. Moreover, some are still figuring out what their dream job is.

All in all, the topic of unemployment is one that is not talked about often in our daily conversations. However, it is a major problem that is lurking behind the shadows of young and enthusiastic graduates – and more attention and awareness should be given to it. Despite this, unemployment is just a small piece of the puzzle in what could be seen now as a “Young Adults Dilemma” shared collectively by both the youngsters of Ipoh and the country, as a whole.

Jack Foo


Any fresh graduate in the fields of marketing, advertising, looking for an exciting and challenging career may call us at Ipoh Echo with full resume for an interview. Also, those with an excellent command of English and wishes to write may also do so. Write to us at

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