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Malaysia – English language skills a recruitment barrier

30 October 2013

Employment prospects for graduates in Malaysia who are not proficient in English remain dim, reports to The Star. Many graduates lack the skills to speak and write in English, which is resulting in job vacancies; particularly in the digital, marketing, and creative sectors, to go unfilled.

Reema Bhullar, a public relations and communications expert, told The Star: “There are now more jobs than good talent in the industries we service, so graduates do have better prospects compared to a few years ago during the economic downturn.”

Specialising in recruitment, Ms Bhullar advised that English language proficiency plays a significant role for job candidates in the digital, marketing, and creative sectors.

“While companies may differ in their needs and requirements, one cannot run away from the fact that employability is also about attitude and perception. Most employees think that once they have secured a job, they have made it. They fail to periodically upgrade themselves to remain employable and relevant in the industry,” she added.    

Josephine Teo, vice-principal of the ELS Language Centres, added: “Some fresh graduates are not aware of their poor language skills until their employers complain or point it out to them. They have to take the initiative to improve their own skills and abilities and enrol in language courses.”

Ms Bhullar concluded that while many international companies are looking to Malaysia and the region because of their marketable pool of talents, proficiency in the English language is still a critical requirement.

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