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UM ranks #15 globally for Best Engineering Programme yet local graduates are paid peanuts

UM ranks #15 globally for Best Engineering Programme yet local graduates are paid peanuts

Tasneem Nazari

The engineering programme at University Malaya (UM) has been listed as the 15th best in the world.

The achievement was announced by the US News & World Report, which gave the university a score of 84.1.

The score was reportedly calculated based on the programme’s basic engineering concepts using science and math in problem-solving.

Picture credit: University of Malaya

Besides UM, several other local universities also made the list:

  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM (40th place)
  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, UKM (147th place)
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia, USM (193rd place)
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia, UPM (220th place)
  • Universiti Tenaga Nasional, UNITEN (253rd place)
  • Universiti Malaysia Pahang, UMP (271st place)
  • Universiti Teknologi Petronas, UTP (285th place)
  • Universiti Teknologi Mara, UiTM (464th place)
  • Universiti Malaysia Perlis, UniMAP (654th place)

The website also explained that all listed universities have the ability to conduct research projects in a number of engineering topics, including aerospace, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering.

Besides placing 15th globally, UM was also listed as the 27th best university in Asia and the best local university.

UM engineering faculty dean, Prof Dr Saad Mekhilef attributes the achievement to the staff and students of the faculty, adding that the placement proves the quality of the research and work of the researchers in the faculty.

He also said that the secret to their success was conducting high-quality research which is then applied to be published in the best journals.

Picture credit: Make A Meme

But what’s interesting is this:

Despite the fact that the engineering programmes in Malaysia are being recognised globally, locally, the salary rate of engineers has not changed for the last 20 years.

In fact, Malaysian engineers are among the lowest paid compared to other countries.

Picture credit: Berita Harian

According to Berita Harian, the current salary rate for Malaysian engineering fresh graduates is less than RM2,500 a month.

And even then, the RM2,500 rate is only offered in major cities and towns like in the Klang Valley, while those working in smaller towns outside of urban centres are offered much less.

In the public sector, Grade J41 civil engineers receive RM2,529 a month while mechanical and electrical engineers in the same Grade get RM2,360.

And the starting pay rate can reach a maximum of RM9,000 with an annual increment of RM225.

Speaking to Berita Harian, Megat Johari Megat Mohd Noor, member of the Board of Engineers Malaysia said that local universities churn out about 10,000 engineering graduates a year, and that number is increasing annually.

However, the local engineering industry isn’t interested in hiring and training local graduates but instead prefers to hire foreign talents.

He attributes this practice as the reason why the field is not improving locally, resulting in the low and depressed salaries of local graduates.

Besides engineers, science graduates have also voiced our how they are also facing problems in getting well paid jobs.

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