Last year, my friend bought me a book that captured my attention about Malaysian youth unemployment that was higher than our Southeast Asian neighbours. Here the question popped up, ‘why Malaysian millennials like me can’t secure employment with a better pay cheque and move up the corporate ladder?’ and ‘did it have something to do with our flawed education system and higher education institutions that only produced unemployable fresh graduates that aren’t competitive with unmarketable skill sets?’ After all, youth unemployment was a problem back in the early 90s that coincided with the Age of Information! It just kept me wondering back then when I was in upper primary, secondary and college days as I always heard these words being whispered” “nowadays, college/university students can’t secure good jobs with good pay cheques.”
As the world economy makes the transition to a new type of economy; the higher education system, which is still built on an archaic model that required students to work in factories, has never gone through a radical reform except for the curricula of schools on school white paper. Here is the catch, it explained why youth unemployment is a real problem for policymakers at the same time they managed successfully to experiment on alternative education, which was student-centric. What is did was put emphasis on hands-on learning by getting students to work on projects. These students had higher chances of getting employment!
The book that I read was ‘The End of Jobs’ by Taylor Pearson. He was invited to give a talk about his book ‘The End of Jobs’. In his book, he argued that with the internet, you can build a product’s prototype by hiring freelancers from the marketplaces like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr and Guru. Also, you can buy products by sourcing them from AliBaba, a marketplace for suppliers or manufacturers. He even went on further to propose about the educational credential had its own intrinsic value as he had drawn up two scenarios of two graduates who were employed where the other one went on a different route because of he or she was pissed off about the traditional 9 to 5 by becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur just like Taylor Pearson, himself, who took that kind of route. It sounds familiar among the modern day fresh graduate to have the call of the wild.
Taylor Pearson proposed that the economy is undergoing a transition from jobs to an entrepreneurial economy just like hundreds of years ago where society in the past used went through many transitions of the economy. Later, with the success of the Gutenberg press that distributed the printing of the Bible into mass circulation that led to the printing of knowledge to be distributed massively to the people in Europe. Here, another transition from powerful royalty and aristocrats into the rule of the people due to a distributed knowledge that has already been through the power of printing.