If you were a child growing up in Malaysia, you would have been peppered with encouragements from your teachers, parents and relatives to take up a high paying, high flying job, like a doctor, accountant, lawyer or the like. This has inevitably caused a culture where people tend to stay away from certain professions, for whatever reason.
The way we despise certain jobs, which are in most cases honest and legitimate, has caused us to depend heavily on foreign labour. Although many argue that this keeps the operation costs down, it also means less blue collar and in some cases, white collar jobs for the locals. Here are some of the least sought after jobs in Malaysia today:
Customer Service Executive
There are several reasons why customer service jobs rate very lowly on the job desirability scale. The first of which is the necessity for a strong emotional quotient or EQ in order to withstand the emotional and mental stress of dissatisfied customers who are often frustrated and won’t hesitate to lash out at you. Additionally, those in customer service jobs often have to work in shifts, making your body clock go completely haywire and often contributing to insomnia and other health problems. Needless to say the starting pay isn’t very attractive either, Training is often provided by the company you work for, but it’s often challenging and difficult too.
Food and Beverage Industry
Whether you’re working in the kitchen or as a server, the food and beverage industry is probably the most physically challenging as it requires a lot of stamina. Often, you have to be on your feet 10-12 hours a day, and have to be careful not to make any mistakes, no matter how tired you are, as angering any customer will contribute to the poor reputation of the restaurant. This condition applies across the board, whether you’re working in a posh hotel restaurant or selling food at a PasarMalam.
Somehow in this country, being a construction worker has gained an extremely bad rep, despite the fact that the pay is on par with those received by junior executives in cushy air conditioned offices. This has resulted in almost all construction jobs being outsourced to foreign workers. In fact, a survey done by Cilisos.my (http://cilisos.my/sempena-labour-day-how-much-do-migrants-earn-in-malaysia/) has found that construction workers can earn up to RM2600 a month. Of course the job does come with many safety risks, as we know from the numerous death reports of foreign workers crushed under debris.
This is one sector you will hardly see Malaysians being keen to work in. 3D stands for dirty, dangerous and demeaning, and include those working in the sanitation industry like rubbish collection, septic tank cleaners, road sweepers and the like. Despite the pay scale being extremely attractive and their roles absolutely necessary for the community to function, this doesn’t prevent society from vilifying them. The negative attitudes with which people treat these workers can cause long term trauma, mental fatigue and even PTSD. So unless there are changes in societal attitudes, we won’t see any Malaysians being keen on 3D jobs.
Despite the comfort of being able to work in an office, being an administrative assistant is arguably one of the lowest paying jobs available to fresh graduates out there. There may not be any risks of physical danger, but it is nonetheless a stressful and demanding jobs as you’ll be expected to carry out menial paperwork as requested by any one of your superiors, not to mention you may have to handle a lot of office politics, and all this for only about RM1500 a month.
For decades now, the position of domestic helpers or maids has been held by foreign workers, and they have often been subjected to abuse, so much so that the Indonesian government has considered sending their women over to work here. Apart from working 24 hours a day 7 days a week with no holiday, employers also expect maids to be at their back and call. This has created a toxic environment that no Malaysian ever want to be subjected to. To add salt to the wound, payment is pretty poor, ranging from RM700-RM1000 per month.
Sometimes it’s good to reflect on our attitudes as Malaysians to these poorly sought after jobs, whether they are vilified because of our perspective as a nation, or whether there are actual legitimate causes.