On 25th August 2022, Perdana Leadership Foundation successfully organised its 22nd Perdana Discourse Series themed “Envisioning Malaysia’s Future Employment: Trends vs Skills”. More than 160 participants attended the discourse, the majority of whom were university students from various universities in Malaysia. The discourse focused on issues related to graduate employment, including and especially underemployment and post-pandemic shifts. 

In his welcome address, Tan Sri Nik Mohamed Nik Yaacob, Executive Director of Perdana Leadership Foundation, emphasised that for a developing country like Malaysia, talent plays a critical role, now even more than ever with the advent of the Information Age. It is also important that there are sufficient jobs in the country for Malaysian talents that graduate from universities.  

Tan Sri Nik Mohamed Nik Yaacob, Executive Director of Perdana Leadership Foundation

The keynote speaker, Professor Elizabeth Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Sunway Education Group, covered four key areas in her speech: Employment Trends – Globally, Employment Trends – Malaysia. What Malaysia’s Future Employment Landscape Could Look Like; and lastly The Way Forward & What the Future Holds.  In her keynote address, Prof Elizabeth highlighted that the future will become more competitive with talent having to compete globally for good jobs. As such, skills such as cultural sensitivity, communications, and multi-lingualism will be prized skills alongside more technical and job-specific skills. She also urged tertiary institutions to be mindful of the quality of graduates they produce. Professor Elizabeth answered questions from the audience on the research and development (R&D) area and the issue of underemployment, and low wages among fresh graduates.

Professor Elizabeth Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Sunway Education Group

Professor Elizabeth’s keynote was followed by a panel session where Dato’ Ahmad Nadzarudin bin Abdul Razak, Honorary Treasurer, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), Ms See Wai Hun, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Juristech, and Puan Noraliza Mohamad Ali, Senior Deputy Executive Director, Malaysian Bureau of Labour Statistics, Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), moderated by Assoc Prof Dr Soo Wincci, Conservatory of Music, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), elaborated on the subject matter from both the demand and supply side and answered a couple of concerns during the Q&A that followed.

Panel Session members, starting from right to left;
Assoc Prof Dr Soo Wincci, Puan Noraliza Mohamad Ali, Ms See Wai Hun, and Dato’ Ahmad Nadzarudin bin Abdul Razak.

The sessions ended with gifts of appreciation from Perdana Leadership Foundation, represented by Tan Sri Nik Mohamed Nik Yaacob.

Group photo between the panel members and Tan Sri Nik Mohamed

It was a lively discussion that merited more time than had been allocated, due to the subject matter and the huge concerns of Malaysian youth. Earning a living remains the next step for most university graduates. The pandemic underscored the challenge of finding meaningful and well-paying jobs that build on and develop a graduate’s skillset. On the other end of the spectrum, employers also face a challenge in filling job vacancies with qualified candidates. The discourse surfaced these issues and brought to the fore some lesser-known concerns of both graduates and employers.

The Perdana Discourse Series is organised by Perdana Leadership Foundation and is fully sponsored by DRB-HICOM Berhad. The discourse proceedings will be published later this year.

Downloadable programme materials:

  1. Prof Elizabeth Lee – Keynote Speech
  2. Prof Elizabeth Lee – Keynote Slides
  3. Dato’ Ahmad Nadza – Presentation Slides
  4. Puan Noraliza – Presentation Slides

About Perdana Discourse Series (PDS):
Perdana Discourse Series is a half-day event where a prominent presenter will speak on a pre-determined topic addressing its definition and identifying issues, policies, and strategies. Discussions and issues arising from the discourse will be documented and published in monograph form.

The Discourse has previously dissected topics such as National Unity, Social Re-engineering, Political Stability, Economic Development, Affirmative Action, International Relations, Education, and Leadership.

About Perdana Leadership Foundation

The Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in 2003 to document, disseminate, research, and archive materials related to the past Prime Ministers of Malaysia, and nation-building. The Foundation intends to become the premier institution for the study of Malaysia’s Prime Ministers and the central resource centre for research into national stewardship as well as a platform for reflection, debate, and discussion with distinguished figures in Malaysian leadership. Our Honorary President is the fourth and seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. To date, we have digitised more than 500k materials, half of which are available for free through our website www.perdana.org.my. Membership of our Perdana Library is free, and members also get to enjoy the library’s physical facilities located in a cosy enclave in Precinct 8, Putrajaya.

About DRB-HICOM Berhad

DRB-HICOM Berhad is one of Malaysia’s leading organisations listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. As a local conglomerate, it plays an integral role in supporting Malaysia’s transformation into a competitive, knowledge-based, and high-income nation. With 82 operating companies, the Group provides employment to some 46,000 people. The Group’s business activities are organised under six core sectors – Automotive, Aerospace, and Defence, Postal, Banking, Services, and Properties. We draw our strength from being a diversified yet integrated Group.