According to a World Bank study published in June 2016, greater investments in workers’ skills and education and more flexible labor regulations are needed in order to encourage firms to generate more jobs with better pay and social protection. The study analyzed the labor performance of the Philippines from the perspective of the workers.
In the last decade, the study also reported an average growth of 5.3 percent in the Philippine economy and 3.4 percent in labor productivity. Amid the employment landscape, the fresh graduates of DLSU as well as the alumni who have been working for a few years have experienced their fair share of employment. In an informal online survey conducted by The LaSallian, some DLSU alumni share these experiences.
Richard Chua (AB-PSM, ‘16) claims that it is difficult to find career opportunities without pursuing further studies through a master’s degree. “I should have taken up a technical degree or business one,” he adds. Chua also cites that recruitment companies tend to be full of call center agent job openings.
According to Denver* (AB-PSM ‘12), people typically have the perception that Lasallians are generally wealthy, party-goers, and sports fans. “Majority of people who work in HR, especially in small companies, put stereotypes on fresh graduates even without interviewing the individual. [For instance], psychology is for HR, accounting is for finance, and marketing is for events and sales,” he reveals.
Another struggle job seekers face is that the job descriptions for companies are not detailed. “It uses up my time of going through the interview process only to find out during the interview that the job description is not fit for my skills,” Camille Santos (AB-OCM ‘16) points out. She also shares an experience that some companies did not inform her of the results of her interview process.
Michael Domagas (CS-ST, ‘12) mentions that is difficult for a fresh graduate to look for a high-paying job even when they graduate from a top university. “Not all employers are willing to pay big for the top three schools like ours,” he shares.
Tips and strategies
“Have the confidence of a Lasallian. News articles would undermine DLSU graduates, but being one is really an advantage,” shares Miguel Flores (AB-CAM, ‘16). However, he suggests on not asking for a high salary as an entry-level employee. “You have to prove yourself to be able to ask for one,” he adds.
JM Cipriano (CS-NE, ‘13) explains that the job market now is highly competitive. “The earlier fresh graduates know what their passion in life [is after] graduation, the better. It will increase your chances of getting a job with a higher salary,” he says.
On the other hand, Denver suggests looking for a job wherein training on a certain skill will be provided. “Avoid multifaceted or all-around jobs [like] coordinators, executive assistants, [and] administrative assistants. Based from my personal experience, I had a hard time to shift from those positions, even though I was paid a lot and it was somewhat prestigious, to other more common jobs such as procurement or HR,” he expresses.
Meanwhile, Chua shares, “Banks usually hire fresh graduates as management trainees. Also, keep sending out those resumes, and find different avenues. Try [contacting them through] their FB accounts. It definitely works, I’ve gotten interviews from this.” He adds that one has to make sure there is a job contract and that every detail of the job is discussed with the employer.
For Santos, fresh graduates should maximize the use of job seeking applications, although they may not be always reliable. She suggests, “Build up your online profiles. Take time in filling up your profiles with the most precise yet brief descriptions of [your] achievements. Research on the company and current trends in the market. There’s nothing wrong in answering what salary you think you deserve as long as you have data to back up your answer.”
Addressing the job-skills mismatch
A report by the International Labor Organization and Employers Confederation of the Philippines stated that there is currently a job-skills mismatch in the country most especially in the automotive, electronics, and tourism industries. The report revealed that the mismatch was enough to hamper the country’s manufacturing potential and economic growth.
Furthermore, the mismatch is a contributing factor to the high unemployment rate, which was reported to be at 5.4 percent last July 2016. The report claims that the unemployment rate of the country remains among the highest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“Skills can be taught and learned. Candidates who don’t have the skill set needed for the job but still meet other criteria should assess if they are capable and willing to learn these skills and if they can imagine themselves doing it in the long term,” states Christopher* (AB-ISE, ‘15).
He says that before applying for a job, the applicant should consider if it will advance their career in the long run. Moreover, he suggests that companies should also assess the applicants thoroughly not just in terms of skills and experience, but also in attitude and work ethic.
For Cipriano, one of the solutions he thought of to solve the job-skills mismatch is to “make the Philippine education system specialization-centered.” In the case of DLSU, he suggests providing more career development programs aside from just the Personal Effectiveness programs.
Meanwhile, Domagas argues that the faculty members are not updated with the latest trends in technology. He adds that all the necessary skills should be taught in the classroom, and that “faculty members should not forget to teach the practicality of [the] theories and concepts taught.”
“Because online job seeking applications are the most used and accessible, companies should be able to define each job precisely in their descriptions online,” shares Santos. She explains that companies should be more flexible and open to situations along the way, most especially when employees realize that they are a better fit in a different team or department. “Cases like these happen because applicants wouldn’t know the other departments of the company once they are in,” she adds.