Focus on transferable skills

THE Association for Community and Dialogue (ACID) is greatly concerned about the current rising cases of Covid-19 and its impact on the wellbeing of Malaysians, business and employment.

According to director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the total number of cases recorded in the country has surpassed 14,000 mark.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in June from a record high of 5.3% a month earlier due to the gradual lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

But such figures do not reflect the actual employment situation. Currently, many employees who are not retrenched are underemployed with pay cuts or transferred to other departments where their skills are underutilised. The rising cases could bring us back to square one.

In this context, it is vital for the government to come up with strategic and effective policy or improving its current initiatives by facilitating and encouraging industries to accept transferable skills so that workers who are retrenched or underemployed could be transferred to industries where their skills are appreciated and needed the most.

There are three types of transferable skills: hard skills, technical skills and soft skills. For example, soft skills like leadership, time management, analysis, written and verbal communication could be easily transferred.

Hard skills include computer technology, digital communication, strong decision-maker, data warehousing and analytics and efficient data management.

Technical skills include computer technology, agile methodologies, project management software, content management systems and data engineering. 

For example, IT technicians’ skills could be transferred to jobs like network security. What is needed is foundation of current skills and the rest could be obtained through further training in the context and needs of a particular industry.

Raising awareness about the role of transferable skills for their employability and occupational mobility is the task of employment centres and agencies as well as education institutes and university system.

These organisations use different channels – individual professional guidance and counselling through career guidance services; information seminars and workshops, job clubs, promotional events like “labour fairs” or “education fairs” or they use websites and e-tools.

Employment agencies have a number of official publications, flyers and posters that highlight the need for new skills in the workplaces of the future. These publications support career guidance and counselling.

Generally, the main task is to motivate people to be interested in developing their transferable skills. Tools used for motivating people to develop their transferable skills may differ according to specifics of different

There is also a need to create awareness among Malaysians on the importance of transferable skills for their employability and occupational mobility.

This could be done by employment centres like Jobs Malaysia, education institutes and university systems.  Employment agencies should come up with flyers, poster and official publications to highlight the jobs that could be obtain from transferable skills. 

Therefore, the Association for Community and Dialogue urges the Human Resources Ministry, universities, employment centres and agencies to focus on transferable skills by facilitating its execution as means to reduce unemployment and underemployment. – October 9, 2020.

* Ronald Benjamin is secretary, Association for Community and Dialogue.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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