Almost two thirds of workers in Malaysia say that if given the chance, they would have studied something totally different after leaving school, while one in eight say that they chose the wrong career, according to a new international workplace survey.
The survey, by global recruitment firm Kelly Services, found that many Malaysian workers have concerns about their education – both at school and post school – and many have regrets about the career choices they made.
The global survey sought the views of 115,000 people in 33 countries including more than 2,000 in Malaysia.
The findings show a high level of concern about career choices and directions.
Many people in the workforce do not believe that their education properly prepared them for working life and quite a few a have regrets about the direction that their job has taken them.
Amongst the key findings of the survey:
75% of people wish that they had studied further.
63% of people wish that they had studied something totally different.
13% say that they definitely chose the wrong career, while 21% are 'not sure'.
45% say that their school education did not prepare them well for working life.
29% say that their post-school education did not prepare them well for working life.
The findings throw light on how those in the workforce feel about the quality of their education. Satisfaction with the quality of Malaysia's school system was moderate by international standards with Malaysia ranking equal 20th with the UK on the list of 33 countries with a 45% satisfaction rate, slightly lower that the global average of 49%.
The highest level of support for school education came from India with 69% saying it prepared them well for working life. It was followed by Puerto Rico (67%), Indonesia and Thailand (65%), Poland (63%), Spain (61%), Canada and Hungary (59%), Japan and Mexico (57%).
The lowest rankings were for Sweden (26%), Norway (27%), Denmark (29%), Turkey (30%), Ukraine (37%), Russia and Italy (39%).
People across the globe were much more satisfied with their post-school education, with a global average of 65% saying it prepared them well for working life. Malaysia ranked equal 25th on the international list with 58% approval.
An overwhelming 83% of people agreed with the proposition that post-school/professional education should be more practical and less theoretical.
In Malaysia, 66% of respondents were happy with their career choice, while 13% said they had made the wrong choice and 21% were 'not sure'. Women were much more likely to have doubts about their career choice than men. It is only natural that people reflect in a positive way on what they have done and the extent to which they have achieved their professional goals.
It is to be expected that many wish they had worked harder while at school, college or university. There are also many who have had second thoughts about the career choices they made.
Regrettably, someone who discovers that they are in the wrong career is probably not as productive as they could be and may be missing out on a more fulfilling professional life.
It's also important that people don't over react or set up false expectations in evaluating their study and career choices.
It is now the norm for most employees to have several career changes in the course of a working life, so it's possible for someone who is dissatisfied with their career to do something positive about it.
Both men and women cited financial considerations as the major obstacle to changing career, followed by time and family.
Source: Kelly Services, Global Survey.