It’s a hard life if we don’t make do

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


EDUCATION is a tool for success. It broadens one’s mind, adds confidence, and opens doors to better job opportunities. However, as the labor market becomes crowded, employment has become an issue.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) three years ago, announced 50,000 jobs in the Phil–JobNet website.

With the various businesses and jobs waiting here in the Philippines, one can’t help but wonder why unemployment and underemployment is still growing.

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National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed that the country’s unemployment rate in January this year is 7.5 percent higher than January 2013 with 7.1 percent. Meanwhile, the underemployment of the same month in 2014 is 19.5 percent, a bit lower in 2013 with 20.9 percent.

The Phil-JobNet showed thousands of job offers but more on call center agents, salesman, service crews, factory workers, and technical support staffs. And even if the companies are in need of such manpower, it cannot find suitable recruits.

Is it about the education or the need of the industry? Though employers for sure value four–year college degree or two–year vocational degree holders, it seems that most employers have trouble finding recent graduates qualified to fill positions.

Abe (not her real name), 27, a resident of Buhangin District in Davao City, has completed her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from Holy Cross of Davao College in 2009. She never got employed. She does freelance modeling.

“I’ve been applying for a job several times but it ends up to nothing. Most of the companies nowadays are looking for those with job experience. If that’s the case, what will happen to the fresh graduates? I mean, how will I able to have a job experience if no one will trust my abilities and hire me?” Abe said.

“Another thing I’ve noticed… even if someone does not have a job experience but as long as he/she had relatives or close friends in a company, you’ll get hired because of the so–called backer. Is that fair? No,” she added.

Hazel Eborde, 25, a fourth year Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (BSCE) student in University of Mindanao, said as a student it would be a great achievement if she will graduate in college. But somehow she worries about what would be her career after school.

“In fact, some of my colleagues are working at the call centers because most of the companies they had been applying at are looking for those who have already three to four years experience as a chemical engineer. Kaya nga pinag-aaralan, to have such job. How come they were not considered?” Eborde said.

Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Public Information officer Noli Nephi D. Dimaandal, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Mindanao, said the education system and the needs of the industry sometimes do not meet.

“For me, it’s an honor to work in PDEA. Though I’m a licensed teacher, I’m already happy and contented with my job. In fact, I am still teaching in this profession through seminars, workshops and forums. What matters most is that the service I’ve been doing for the public,” Dimaandal said.
PDEA 11 computer equipment operator Nelson Agres Jr. echoed the same. He holds Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (IT) from AMA Computer College Davao. He has been working as computer operator for six years now.

“This is my first job since I finished IT. So far, I never thought of quitting this job. Although lahi ra jud pag na practice nimo imo na human (It would have been different had you been practicing what you have studied in college) but I’m contented with what I have now. Sa hirap ba naman mag hanap ng trabaho, lalo na pag fresh graduate ka… considered yourself lucky if you got a job,” Agres said.

Senior Police Officer 1 Shermalou Baylin Javier, a non-commissioned officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Women and Children’s Protection Desk (CIDG–WCPD) in Davao Region, said what seems to be in demand may no longer be in demand after three to five years.
She observed that job-mismatch had been a problem for years now as there is a mismatch in terms of skills; locations; education; and somehow the mindset of the applicants towards the job.

Javier, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ateneo de Cagayan Xavier University in 1999, said she believes that she was brought by circumstances to her job now. She added that this might not be her first choice, but she loves her career.

“What I’ve learned. It is either you get a job even though it doesn’t totally match your course or else you remain unemployed. It’s up to you. Applicants can’t do anything about the employers’ choice, but we can always reorient ourselves to the reality, and deal with the situation for us to have a better life,” Javier said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 31, 2014.

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