#Opinion

Sekadar Cita-Cita: Why Youth Unemployment Is A Problem

We all have big dreams, but can we actually make them a reality?

Korang ingat tak last time cikgu  questioned you pasal your cita-cita in school? First time I was asked, I was in Standard 1, so I main bantai je. Ada some friends yang cakap doctor lah, lawyer lah, scientist lah, I pulak said pelakon! Back then, it was kinda fun to just fantasize and think about what jobs we could have when we grew up. But now, with youth unemployment being a thing, many of us would be happy finding any decent job!

Youth Unemployment Teruk Sangat Ke?

a young woman with an empty cart standing in an aisle with empty shelves. Above her head is a sign that says Aisle 1 Job Prospects.

Being jobless is really hard for everyone. Unemployment can cause emotional stress, financial stress, housing instability and banyak lagi problems that might affect the youth even when they’re no longer youths. Imagine not being able to be independent and to take care of yourself and your family walaupun you dah susah-susah usaha.

I actually got to talk to Adam Ling, UNICEF Malaysia’s Social Policy Specialist to understand a little more about youth unemployment, and what I found out, may have you as shook as it had me! Might sound wild, but Adam said walaupun many different groups of Malaysians go through unemployment, those aged 15-24 years old are the majority yang susah cari kerja. So ya, youth unemployment should definitely be something we take seriously!

Youth unemployment in Malaysia is higher for women and girls too. Ni sebab our social norms yang slalu kata women have to jaga and build families instead of their careers. This one confused me so much because actually, women on average are better educated than men in Malaysia! So, like, why wouldn’t you want us contributing to the economy when we’re so capable of it???

Why Is Youth Unemployment Happening Tho?

Actually, there are many reasons for youth unemployment: the global economy, our country’s policies, globalization, etc. But one thing I found interesting was pasal skills supply and demand.

Sebenarnya, even though ramai yang graduate from college and uni, as of 2020, lebih kurang 202,400 Malaysian grads tak dapat cari kerja.

Some more, 365,000 of our peers yang dapat cari kerja, are working in jobs yang tak match their skills. Bayangkan, you study nak jadi chemical engineer, tapi sebab takde opening untuk engineer, you kena kerja mechanic instead.

Adam says ni sebab Malaysia actually runs on more low-skilled workers than high-skilled. So walaupun in school many of us nak jadi scientist and engineer, Malaysia doesn’t have enough opportunities for that career. So no wonder lah ramai kawan I had to go overseas to grow their career according to the skills yang diorang sedia ada.

So What Now? Ada Chance To Make A Difference Tak?

Of course, kawan!

Youth unemployment, macam segala masalah, of course can settle! One silver lining is that our youth unemployment rate is 11.4%, which is lower than last year’s global rate of 17.9%. But of course there are things we can do to turunkan lagi this number, seperti:

  • The government has to continue its usaha to create more jobs! And not just jobs that will help the economy, but quality jobs that will benefit the youth now, and later in life.
  • More training programmes and work experience opportunities can also be implemented so that more youth are equipped with the right skills for the right jobs.
  • Schools can offer more kawkaw in-depth career counselling, so the youth have a better understanding of what job opportunities are betul-betul in demand.
  • Universities and colleges can also push enrolment for programmes yang matching dengan the needs of the industries in Malaysia.

>> READ: Kerja Macam Mana? 7 Skills To Land Your First Job

And… if you’re young and want to future-proof your career against youth unemployment, here’s some of my top tips:

  • Go to the career fairs! Big fairs are often open to the public AND there may also be some dekat skolah or uni you too. Go kepoh, ask questions, look at what’s out there. Don’t just look at the biasa-biasa jobs je k. And jangan shy shy.
  • Keep an eye out for apprenticeships and on-the-job training programmes near you if you dah cukup umur. Some of these programmes memang are to counter youth unemployment and are a great way to get exposure to different industries.
  • Sharpen those internet skillz, fam. The internet isn’t going anywhere, and even if you don’t end up joining bidang IT, knowing your way around a computer is going to help you with researching and networking. 10/10 rekomen.

I know job hunting is super stressful, but it really shouldn’t be. Tak kira lah kalau they are a youth, in their 30s or even their 50s: everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their cita-cita and be fairly paid for it!

What do you think? Share your thots with us below.

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Tati Wira

A 20-something fierce believer of children's rights!
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