The Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines commits to what seems to be a never-ending cause of providing enough decent jobs for Filipinos. It may be pleasing to hear that more than a hundred thousand jobs are available to date, yet it cannot be denied that numbers are still growing in terms of both unemployment and underemployment.
Why? Two words: Job mismatch.
Job mismatch cases in the Philippines is so common among today’s workforce, hence more and more employees become restless and frustrated with their current jobs and career paths.
Here are some of the top reasons, as observed by most career experts, why the job mismatch issue remains controversial to this very day:
- Wrong choice of college course – either strong parental influence in decision-making, or taking a course pertaining to a job that is “in” (not because the interest is there)
- Being too money-driven – Applying for jobs that offer above-average compensation packages, like those based abroad, despite not possessing the necessary skills
- Being too choosy – unreasonable conditions or demands set by jobseekers when looking for or applying to jobs
- The overqualified stigma – work experiences are beyond employer’s requirements for the job applied for – a situation that is not new to employees who wish to switch careers or lower their standards just to avoid unemployment
- Cost-cutting measures of companies for relevant training programs – Not all employers allot the required time or budget for training new hires, who are therefore expected to be fast-learners as they go completely hands on as early as day one
- Using connections in the workplace – There are applicants and employees who consider their relationship with a top-rank person in the organization as an assurance of securing jobs, while those who are more deserving end up unemployed or victims of career mismatches themselves
Key officials have also put the blame on several sub-factors concerning job mismatch: Executive Director of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Patti de la Rama on location-related conflicts, Delfina Camarillo of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on prodding by family members and the so-called “abroad mentality”, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara on failure to implement the needed reforms in the country’s education system, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on jobseekers’ lack of drive to find work, and DOLE-RO8 OIC-Regional Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga on high school graduates not exerting effort to gain additional knowledge on courses they plan to take in college.
Many efforts to address this alarming national concern have been reported, such as TESDA acting as a bridge between industries and the local education sector regarding further training applicable to a wide range of “hot jobs”, career skills coaching sessions for high school seniors, seminars for school and university heads and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) officials, career guidance advocacy activities, Angara’s Bill of Rights of New Graduates, more job fairs, reverse migration, and a Municipal Career Advocacy Congress (MCAC). For the same purpose, it is also recommended for graduating high school students to take career assessment exams whether given by the school or via the Internet, and for schools to come up with a short but substantive program for them to discuss employment trends and corporate practices.
In such activities, focus should also include what is believed to be the ultimate solution to the root of the issue: having above average to excellent communication skills.
Communicating fluently and effectively is one of the main weapons of an applicant – written communication when creating resumes, portfolios and cover letters, and oral communication during job interviews. The ability to express and build up oneself verbally and in writing can actually turn things around during the critical stages in the application process. They can explain to employers in detail their core competencies and experiences, as well as justify with conviction why they deserve to be in that position they’re applying for and receive the compensation package and benefits that they expect. The same routine also takes place when the applicant-turned-employee proves his or her worth for a raise, a lateral transfer or a promotion.
To be globally competent, one must be eloquent in the English language. Be it here or abroad as long as employment is under a company managed by native English speakers and non-native English speaking foreigners, thorough knowledge in the universal language of business communication and the ability to speak and write in it the way it should be done lead to the road to local and international success.