In the article, Datuk Seri Najib argued that:
Lifelong employment is outdated as companies can no longer guarantee that their workers will always have a job. [He] urged them instead to nurture "lifelong employability".The above is absolutely correct as there is absolutely no reason for companies to "guarantee" lifelong employment to their employees. One of the key reasons why certain organisations in Malaysia (particularly the government linked companies (GLCs)) such as Telekom and Tenaga Nasional are clear targets for reform and restructuring today is because of the unwritten lifelong employment guarantee for its employees. As a result these organisations becomes fat and unproductive as there is clearly little incentive for the employees to perform at their optimum to ensure that they continue to possess the job in the longer run. Datuk Seri Najib rightly pointed out examples overseas such as:
...the case of United States conglomerate General Electric, Najib said its former chief executive officer, Jack Welch, had fired thousands of the company’s workers even though it was doing well.Hence, our deputy prime minister advised the 300 or so pioneer graduates from UTAR was:
He also said countries such as Germany and Japan, which traditionally encouraged lifelong employment, had abandoned these policies.
"Forget about lifelong employment in a single company. It is no longer feasible or desirable. You must be flexible and relevant to the job market.Did the above actually meant that he is advising these graduates to switch jobs at practically every opportunity? Is that actually sensible advise to give? Does the lack of lifelong employment mean that graduates must now switch jobs frequently (I don't understand the rationale)?
"Take up opportunities in different companies and do not be afraid to seek promising jobs overseas."
If our DPM did not actually meant the article's headlines, then clearly the reporter from NST have misunderstood his message. I don't blame the journalist though, as the quotes attributed to Datuk Seri Najib were not exactly all clear in their intent.
Irrespective of whether Datuk Seri Najib actually meant to dispense the advice - my opinion is that it is at best, a misleading advice and at worst, a career-damaging one.
- Switching jobs is just not the right advice to give to graduates when faced with no 100% certainly of continued employment. The right advice to provide these graduates is to work hard, think out-of-the-box, be innovative and creative and ultimately be productive to ensure that one skills and services continue to be demanded by the respective firms in this highly competitive environment. I can't believe that by switching jobs, the problem of job certainty will be resolved - how is that?
- This is not to say that employees should never switch jobs. One should not be blindly loyal to any particular company, but at the same time, one should be objective as to whether the next job offer is actually offering something significantly better than what he or she is already enjoying in the existing position. Do not switch jobs purely because its something "new". Switching out of this something "new" may not be the easiest thing to do after that, if it was the wrong choice.
- At the same time, if the existing company continues to remunerate the employees competitively, offer a good environment for learning and growth as well as take care of the employees basic needs - why should the employees switch jobs, even if he or she has been working there for 10 years? The fact is that if this company operates on a "productivity" retention basis, and if the employee has worked for more than 10 years, it means that the employee is obviously productive and valued by the organisation. At the same time, it also means that the organisation values positive contributions by the employees. In that scenario, employees should actually stay longer in this organisation instead of moving to another which might value his or her contributions equally.
- And finally, the candidates should beware of the trap of switching jobs too frequently. Whenever I receive a resume of someone switching jobs on a regularly every 1-2 years, I will have serious doubts about hiring the candidate. I will have very strong reasons to suspect that this candidate is unlikely to stay within the organisation for a long period of time, and the initial training and effort to ensure that the candidate gets up to speed will be wasted if he or she leaves within a couple of months. Hence the more a candidate switches jobs, the more likely he or she will not be able to secure a job position of choice in the future.