Fresh graduates do not have high expectations when it comes to finding a job, because of the movement control order (MCO). Ever since the pandemic hit, fresh graduates have been heavily affected, especially when it comes to getting hired. This has led to breakdowns and major emotional/mental distress amongst them.
As we know, the MCO has been in place since March 2020 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, rendering countless businesses at risk of shutting down permanently. As seen in KLOOK, it seems that even big names in multiple industries are collapsing, including companies like the famous CD outlet, Speedy Video; one of the largest bookstore chains, MPH bookstore; and numerous bubble tea shops located at the well-known “bubble tea land”, SS15.
Companies and shops are holding back from hiring as they struggle to make ends meet. Customers are significantly decreasing, leading to a shortage of income for businesses. To spare money and resources, companies are forced to fire their workers. As stated by TheVibes.com, with the movement control order still taking place in Malaysia, it still makes things a lot harder as no dine-ins are allowed and opening hours are restricted for convenience stores that used to operate 24/7.
Fresh graduates expressed the reasons why they cannot manage to land jobs. They tried looking for jobs, but there were no places willing to hire more employees as their tight budget cannot afford to pay more workers. Not just that, plenty of small businesses also do not offer as many part-time slots as before, as reduced operating hours also means working spots are limited. Even when they do get employed, they may risk being underpaid, which often leads to dissatisfaction with work as well as contemplation to leave and seek better-paying jobs.
Unable to find jobs, many fresh graduates are left with no choice but to be stuck at home, feeling anxious about where the future takes them and turning to other activities to fill up their time. On the other hand, some are lucky enough to earn an income through an online business or live streaming, while some help out with family businesses to sustain their earnings.
MCO has shifted the future for all college graduates, leaving them all in a pickle, wondering where to go now with everything appearing to be unstable and bleak.
To understand what the fresh graduates are going through, I have sat down with two people; Hazael who graduated from Computer Science and Kavin who completed his Diploma in Medicinal Chemistry.
After asking them if virtual classes influenced their confidence in their career, Hazael revealed that he did feel doubtful of himself as he missed out on physical activities. On the flip side, Kavin who studied Medicinal Chemistry did not feel the same way, as STEM students were allowed to go back to campus for laboratory work. He felt more ready for his career in a sense.
As mentioned before, most fresh graduates are having a hard time landing a job. However, Hazael disclosed that it was relatively easy for his field, as Computer Science majors are sought out in almost every industry. As for Kavin, instead of finding it hard, he states that the situation widened his job prospects and he wishes to search for something that will pay him more than the average.
With the pandemic going on, many may start to question and waver from their dreams and plans. But, Hazael remains determined on his dream as a game developer. Kavin had a similar stance. Instead of giving up on his dreams, he saw MCO as an opportunity for him to further his studies towards becoming a medical researcher in the future.
Hazael chose to continue his studies just like Kavin, although he used to think starting to work right away would be a good choice. The thought of that ended up passing as the pandemic hit the world, as Hazael did not want to risk getting the virus. Upon being questioned about their willingness to work overtime, Hazael answered that his decision depended on what his company plans to offer and how it would benefit him. As for Kavin, he would not mind working longer hours as it is the nature of his job. However, he hopes to be commissioned for his effort.
If you have trouble looking for a job, remember that you are not alone. Keep on moving forward and searching for your opportunity. Meanwhile, you can also try to reinvent yourself during this period. Work on your craft, or even learn how to do something new. Make plans or work on a new project. The possibilities are endless. You may feel lost and disoriented during these times, but MCO is not the end. A great journey lies ahead of you. Don't give up!
By Sean Lee