PETALING JAYA: Despite several Malaysian universities climbing in global rankings like the QS World University Rankings 2025, where Universiti Malaya rose to 60th position, a mismatch between graduate skills and employer needs persists, according to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

MEF president Datuk Syed Hussain Syed Husman said while university rankings may facilitate better hiring opportunities, employers prioritise practical abilities over academic achievements.

“The hiring of graduates depends more on their ability to multitask, take on responsibilities and apply practical and soft skills,“ he said.

The MEF Salary Survey for Executives 2021 revealed about one-third of businesses anticipate new hires to handle multiple tasks and function well in top-performing teams.

Furthermore, 29% of employers look for graduates who show enthusiasm and readiness to shoulder additional duties, with another 28.5% valuing the capability to complete assignments and apply soft skills.

Syed Hussain also said that formal education alone does not guarantee job-relevant skills. Employers increasingly value practical experience like portfolios, projects, and internships as proof of abilities.

“The rise of bootcamps, online courses and certifications has made it possible for individuals to gain specific job-relevant skills outside traditional educational pathways.

“If graduates take the initiative to learn web development, for example, through online courses, tutorials or projects, they will have a significant edge over those who do not,“ he added.


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