1.2 Million college and technical education students graduate every year. Almost the same number of applicants in 3,686 job fairs conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment. Only 30% got hired.
A college degree, technical diploma with TESDA certificate is not a guarantee of even an entry level job. There are vacancies but no qualified applicants due to a jobs-skills mismatch, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.
For graduates or first year labor market entrants, is it worth waiting another year, work full time and gain experience? If not, what is the alternative? Take a peek into the reality of Philippine job market.
Work Full-time here: Part-time there.
Let's see the career pathways of two graduates in 2014: Jessa, a Business Administration graduate and Eric, TECH-VOC graduate of a two year IT course. Jessa is single, Eric with a common law partner. Both have parents in the U.S. and had filed visa petitions for them. Jessa's father is a U.S. citizen: Eric's only a green card holder or permanent resident.
Jessa's visa category is F1, Eric, F2B Because the over-21 son or daughter of a green card holder cannot get married (the petition will be automatically revoked if he does) Eric had been in a live-in relationship with Florence, a licensed nurse with just 1 year of experience.
After graduation in 2014, Jessa could not find a job directly related to her course - Business Administration. Being fluent in English, she was hired in a business process outsourcing company. Her starting salary was PhP17,000. Last year her salary almost doubled to PhP360,000.
Eric's parents, on the other hand, encouraged him to pursue further studies in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and provided him with tuition for the first semester as well as the required show money for Eric and Florence.
Since international students are allowed to work in Canada, Eric checked the vacancies posted by employers in campus. He found jobs paying $10 per hour (20 hours a week part time and 40 hours during off-school sessions) while Florence was allowed to work full time. She was hired in a healthcare residential facility earning $18 per hour. The gross take home pay of both last year was $47,360 or the equivalent of close to PhP2 million, which after a 22% income tax was reduced to $36,940.80 or about PhP1.3M.
Florence pursued her career as an RN, took a 1-year related course, passed the NCLEX. She now works as an RN with an annual salary of $45,000. Eric did not finish his 2-year IT course in animation since he got a job offer. He applied for residenccy under the Express Entry selection system. He was selected. They are now permanent residents in Canada with a combined gross income of almost $90,000 or the equivalent of more than PhP3.2 million.
International students in Australia and New Zealand are also allowed to work part-time while studying, full time during vacation or school breaks. The spouse or partner of a full-time international student is also allowed to work. In both countries, an option to pursue permanent residency is available through each country’s selection system: SkillSelect in Australia and Expression of Interest in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Jessa is enjoying her status as one of the highest paid employee in the BPO industry and now works normal hours instead of night shifts. BPO workers are projected to bring in more foreign currency (dollars) to the Philippines equaling if not surpassing OFW remittances.
DOLE TRIVIA - Hard-to-Fill Vacancies by Major Occupation Group, Philippines: January 2013 to June 2014, a Bonanza for Certain graduates.
MAJOR OCCUPATION GROUP
ALL OCCUPATIONS 131,471
1. Corporate executives, managers, managing proprietors and supervisors 8,713
2. Professionals 38,214
3. Technicians and associate professionals 32,285 24
4. Clerks 28,222
5. Service workers and shop and market sales workers 6,248
6. Farmers, forestry workers and fishermen 305
7. Craft and related trades workers 6,240
8. Plant and machine operators and assemblers 7,532
9. Laborers 3,712