As parents, many hope to offer the best that they are able to afford for their children, especially where education is concerned. After all, the long-held belief remains that only education can provide one with a truly secure future in the working world.
And while an increasing number of young faces take to joining the workforce with an abundance of academic plaudits, the supply of skilled jobs available to meet demand simply isn’t there, resulting in a phenomenon known as overqualification where low-skill jobs are being taken up by candidates with too many qualifications.
This has also consequently led to another phenomenon known as job mismatch, wherein a candidate’s chosen field of study is not commensurate with their choice in employment.
M’sian netizen graduated with a chemistry degree, but now works as a fast food cashier
In a recent video uploaded to TikTok by user @ainxxang, she took to joining a trend made popular on the video sharing platform that has users sharing their tertiary qualifications from university, and the job that they currently have. In doing so, she goes on to show a photo of herself at her convocation after receiving her Bachelors in Science (Chemistry) undergraduate degree, as well as a short clip of when she went on stage to collect her scroll.
The video then cuts to a photo of her working as a cashier behind the counter of what appears to be a popular local fast food restaurant. Striking a chord with many Malaysians, her clip went viral almost overnight, accruing over 3.1 million views as of writing.
Many netizens echo similar sentiments regarding job mismatch
Many have taken to the comments section to share their own experiences regarding overqualification and job mismatch, detailing how their current form of employment failed to align with their chosen field of study during university.
“This is what I worry most, when you study so much, but eventually wind up working at a fast food restaurant anyway. I’d have regrets for the rest of my life.”
“I studied in chemistry too, and applied to 50 companies without any response. Now, I’m a full time content creator and Takaful advisor (insurance advisor).”
“My friend has a Masters degree, but only works as wafer seller. If we want to wait for a job vacancy to open up in our intended field, emmm I think we would starve. It’s okay, just work what you can get your hands on, as long as you can sleep with a full belly.”
“Sis has studied for her degree for over 4 years, but ultimately wound up working as a cleaner in Singapore. But what’s most important is that you are earning a Halal source of income.”
“Good on you for not being picky with your job despite having a chemistry degree. As long as you work hard for your own income! May you be blessed with more successes ahead.”
The video even attracted the attention of local celebrity Fazura, who encouraged the netizen to keep her spirits high and to trust in the process.
Job mismatch and overqualifications continue to dog the local employment scene
Both overqualification and job mismatch phenomena present issues in their own right with regards to the underutilisation of human capital and ineffective resource management, as PERKESO Employment Insurance System (EIS) Chief Dato’ Mohd Sahar Darusman goes on to explain in an article from 2020 in The Star.
In fact, he points out that the COVID-19 pandemic may further exacerbate the circumstances surrounding both issues. Drawing an example, he indicates that there were 3,489 registered doctors, dentists and nurses recorded by the Department of Statistics in Malaysia, as compared to the supply of 17,830 doctors, dentists and nurses recorded in a Tracer Study.
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