Fresh grad salaries have dropped

Lower salaries now compared to 2010

By V. Shankar Ganesh

Although the cost of living keeps increasing, it looks like fresh degree holders are being paid lesser than what they received nine years ago.
In a surprising revelation by Bank Negara in its annual report, monthly salaries for fresh graduates holding a diploma or degree have dipped since 2010.

After adjustments for inflation, the starting pay for graduates with a basic degree was RM1,993 in 2010 and it has actually dropped by RM10 to RM1,983 last year. Master’s holders saw their minimum salary dropping to RM2,707 in 2018 from RM2,923 in 2010.

However the starting salaries of PMR and SPM holders have risen by 4.6% and 2.3% respectively.

The dropping salaries are among the major concerns for youths as many struggle with the high cost of living now.

Many feel that though the cost of higher education have risen, salaries did not follow suit.

The Bank Negara report also showed that on average the number of diploma and degree holders entering the job market increased by more than 170,000 people annually.

 “This suggests that the economy has not created sufficient high-skilled jobs to absorb the number of graduates entering the labour force.

“In addition, a study by Khazanah Research Institute also found that 95% of young workers in unskilled jobs and 50% of those in low-skilled manual jobs are over-qualified for these occupations,” the report said.

Bank Negara also said that Malaysian workers are paid lower than those from developed countries for the same level of productivity.

Responding to this, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the ministry was working closely with various parties and other agencies to find a solution.

He said they have also taken note of Bank Negara's call to reduce the mismatch between the supply and demand in the workforce.

"The ministry is taking the issue of graduate marketability seriously. We are in the final phase of completing a study and the action plan on the marketability of graduates from the TVET and Institutes of Higher Learning programmes," he said in a statement.