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Only 1 out of 3 graduates employable, study shows

According to the report, many local employers do not easily notice those employable graduates because they come from low-tier colleges. File

MANILA, Philippines — Only one out of three Filipino college graduates is “employable,” which means about 65 percent of graduates in the country do not have the right skills and training to qualify for the jobs they are applying for, a study by India-based employment solutions firm Aspiring Minds showed.

“An economy with a large percentage of unemployable candidates is not only inefficient, but socially unstable, too. This calls for substantive intervention in curriculums and teaching pedagogy at school and college level to improve basic skills of students,” Aspiring Minds said.

The study assessed 60,000 fresh graduates from more than 80 colleges across the country based on four sets of skills: language, cognitive, behavioral and functional.

It found out more than half of the employable candidates have attended educational institutions that are not part of the top 50 colleges in the Philippines.

According to the report, many local employers do not easily notice those employable graduates because they come from low-tier colleges.

Thus, it recommends implementation of hiring methods that are primarily based on “meritocracy.”

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Sought for the top jobs they aspire for, 16 percent of the graduates cited teaching, followed by administrative (15 percent) and business (12 percent).

“Overall employability needs improvement. Around 65 percent graduates are not employable in the job they want. They show gaps in various skills as required in succeeding in the job role,” Aspiring Minds said.

The report showed employability figures for various functions within the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, the country’s largest private employer, also reflect lack of sufficient and required skills among the total number of graduates who aspire to work in the industry.

Aspiring Minds said most of the candidates in the industry, particularly those for inbound customer service jobs, for outbound sales and for information technology helpdesk, show deficiency in required cognitive skills, which most employers see as an indication of trainability on the job.

The Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) said the findings are not surprising as the industry has been experiencing low hiring rate of six percent to 10 percent.

CCAP said it continues to call for an improved education system that can produce high-skilled contact center candidates.

“Over the years, we have been working with the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and schools to look at the relevant skills that the industry needs, and how we can build those skills in the curriculum itself,” CCAP chair Benedict Hernandez said.

“Students must be educated and trained to develop skills that are specifically required in the contact center industry,” Hernandez added.

In the report, four percent of the college graduates that were assessed cited contact center roles as the top jobs that they aspire for.

Hernandez said CCAP targets to increase the industry’s hiring rate to 15 percent in the next few years.

“The Philippines is fortunate that it produces about 600,000 university graduates a year. But the number one challenge of our companies is to actually find the right people,” he said.

As of end 2016, the contact center industry accounted for more than half or 751,000 of the total 1.15 million jobs generated in the Philippine IT-BPM sector.

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