Higher education expanded rapidly in Malaysia. Shouldering the country’s aspiration to achieve the goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020, higher education systems and institutions are under pressure to produce skilled and quality graduates to meet the nation’s workforce and employers’ needs. The Malaysian government is the major employer of the country. Although graduate manpower, which joins the Management and Professional Group, forms just over a fifth of the public employment, its importance is much larger than its proportion suggests. “This is the Group that is responsible for the administration and development of the country” (Abdullah Sanusi et al., 2003: 79). Through analyzing current situation and using a clustered-stratified random sample of 1,200 final year students of four public universities, this paper aims to examine the ability of the Malaysian public universities to produce sufficient graduates in terms of quantity, quality and representativeness to meet the government’s graduate manpower need, and to identify factors affecting graduates’ choice of public employment. Results show that the public universities are able to produce sufficient graduate manpower for public employment in terms of capacity but not representativeness. The pool of respondents who prefer public employment does not have enough high-CGPA Chinese for merit-based representative recruitment. Further analyses point to the declining quality of education including in teaching English, and the poorer academic performance of males compared to females. Factors which affecting graduates’ choice of public employment including job security, pay, promotion prospects, working hours, job stress, challenging job, image and autonomy.
Kuan Heong Woo, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
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