The INTI Industry vs. Graduates Survey is the third in a series of groundbreaking surveys commissioned by INTI to deliver on its promise of being a “Champion of Change” in Malaysia.
The stark and visible mismatch of expectations between employers and students who are gearing up for the employment market will face the ultimate litmus test during tougher economic times, when more stringent recruitment policies are in place.
“INTI commissioned this study to understand the expectations of students upon graduating, and the companies that employ them; we wanted to have the data points to ensure we are meeting the needs of our key stakeholders. We were very surprised by the dichotomy of views as it is clear that the expectations and perceptions of both segments are diametrically opposed. Left unchecked, this mismatch in expectations will widen further and result in a strain on the system, with young graduates either unemployed or job-hopping, and employers facing high turnover or unable to secure the right talent for their needs,” said CEO of INTI, Rohit Sharma.
The survey also revealed that while 79 percent of parents and students believe that soft skills have improved amongst present day graduates, 84 percent of employers strongly disagree, stating that despite strong academic results, graduates today lack the pre-requisite soft skills for workplace success.
Another key finding is the importance placed on soft skills, with students and parents placing equal importance on communications, collaborative skills, critical thinking and creativity, while employers rank communications as the first and most important skill they seek in the talent they employ and retain.
“As an institution of higher learning that prepares students for employment, we will need to convert the key findings into action points that can result in positive outcomes for both the graduates and employers,” Sharma explained.
Another area of shared expectations is in work experience, with 87 percent of employers agreeing that students who graduate from institutions that focus on internships tend to perform better, while 90 percent of the parents and students surveyed agreed that this will result in better employment prospects.
“The ability to understand the issues at hand and address them at the core is essential for academic institutions seeking to develop talent with the relevant skill-set, academic qualifications and the right balance of aptitude and attitude. Having worked closely with over 400 employer partners, we realize that there is a mismatch in expectations, and we wanted to understand this better to provide the right solutions,” explained Sharma.
With partners ranging from global multinational corporations including IBM, Google, Microsoft and Malaysian giants like Maybank, INTI has the distinction of being able to ensure 100 percent internship placements for all of its students. “Additionally, 78 percent of INTI graduates earn above market average salaries in their first jobs, and 97 percent are being employed within six months of their graduation,” Sharma said.
He stressed that more needs to be done. “This is even more critical in the current economic climate where 53 percent of the employers interviewed indicated that they have more stringent hiring policies in place.”
Following the media briefing on the survey, INTI also hosted a panel discussion comprised of Sharma; Leon Foong, general manager of Uber Malaysia; Daren Yoong, relationship manager at LinkedIn and Nur Azre Abdul Aziz, an international business and management student from the Northwood University program at INTI.