The short leap from graduate to job seeker

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MORE than 550,000 students from private and public universities and colleges will graduate this month, and most them will likely join the ranks of the 2.96 million Filipinos who are jobless.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has confirmed that 50 percent of the unemployed is from the youth sector.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) said that in 2011, 42 percent of the 2.8 million Filipinos without jobs were college graduates, and half were aged 15 to 24.

Some of the fresh graduates will most likely land a job in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. Many will be doing work totally unrelated to the courses they took in college.


If they do not end up in call centers, the new graduates will most likely work as language translators or sales representatives in malls and shopping centers.

Young workers have an edge over older applicants because of their dynamism, energy and willingness to learn. But there are too few jobs and too many job seekers.

The jobs market has not been growing much because not enough investments are coming in, according to Alan Tanjusay, spokesman of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

Tanjusay believes foreign investors are staying away because of high power rates and the lack of modern infrastructure.

Online links for jobs such as Jobstreet.com enumerated the available positions for new graduates: BPO call centers and IT-enabled services; retail and merchandise; manufacturing and production; food and beverage, catering and restaurant services; property and real estate.

The prospects may look long but very few of the graduates actually get hired, said Jobstreet country manager Grace Colet in a TV interview.

This is because skills (which are basically lacking in the graduates) don’t match the job requirement, a reality that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) has been trying to address through special skills courses to increase the employability of graduates.

The government has taken steps to make it easier for the youth to find jobs.

At a recent press conference in Malacañang, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the DOLE will be releasing the schedule and venues of job fairs to be held in the coming months.

Even government agencies issuing documents for job applicants will also join the job fairs.

Baldoz said DOLE will also be conducting seminars to orient the new graduates on the job application process.

The DOLE estimates that there will be around 600,000 to 700,000 people looking for work this summer, and a big number of them will be school dropouts.

According to a study of the People Management Association of the Philippines done two years ago, 40 percent of fresh graduates do not immediately get hired because of deficiencies in the minimum skill requirement.

The minimum skills are critical thinking, initiative and effective communication skills.

On Sunday, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. warned the graduates against illegal recruiters.

Marcos urged the DoLE and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to tighten the campaign against syndicates preying on fresh graduates.

“Knowing that the young new workers are eager to get employed, illegal recruiters and fake manning agencies sprout almost everywhere to make a fast buck,” he said.

Syndicates and fly-by-night manning agencies are usually active at this time, luring fresh graduates and requiring them to pay fees for application forms and other requirements. After their victim has paid, they will disappear.

Marcos said the labor department must issue with guidelines on how to apply for a job, release a list of accredited employment agencies as well as the basic requirements to be submitted and fees allowed by law.

He advised applicants to go to direct hiring offices instead of employment agencies.

Marcos called on police authorities to set up complaint desks in every precinct for victims of illegal recruiters.

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