There has been much distraction going on lately in the traditional and social media: the continuous crackdown on illegal drugs and the usual mudslinging among candidates for the May 13th elections. But lest we be side-tracked, let us go back to one of the main issues of the country: lack of jobs and opportunities for unemployed Filipinos.
As the Philippines celebrated Labor Day last May 1, job fairs were held all over the country through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). According to a banner story published May 5th by The Negros Chronicle entitled “4,262 jobs open; only 10 hired!” drawn from an interview with DOLE Negros Oriental, “out of 200,000 jobs nation-wide, only a few thousands were hired. In Dumaguete City, out of 4,362 job openings, only 1,434 responded and applied. Out of 1,434 respondents, only 798 qualified and of this number, only 10 were hired on the spot.”
A very sad state of affairs indeed. Are there not enough qualified job seekers in the city? Or is there a mismatch between the jobs available and the qualifications of the job seekers? Advance information on what kind of jobs are available and what kind of job applicants they are looking for must be published or circulated beforehand for the job fair to be successful. After all, employers of these companies would not be happy to hire merely 10 people when there are 4,362 job openings. It is also a waste of time for everyone – the job seekers, the company representatives, the organizers.
A helpful initiative for DOLE would be to come up with Labor Trends for the Philippines 5-10 years from now or 10-15 years from now to serve as guide for the job seekers. In western countries like Continental USA, they publish the professions their government predicts the country may need in the near future; the number of professionals needed for a particular occupation; the education and specific experience/ skill set required and the salary range. This official website is put up to serve as guide to Senior High School Students. That way, they can decide what course would land them a good job and what salaries to expect even before they start their college or university studies. This has proven to be very helpful to youngsters who are deciding what course to take. They can avoid enrolling in courses that are already in over-supply and would have bleak job prospects.
Further, a closer partnership between DepEd, CHED, DTI, DOLE, GOCCs and companies within the private sector can also be initiated. This group would successfully plan and carve out what the job requirements of companies are and what kind of education and training would make a good fit.
Another way of solving the problem of joblessness is to encourage people to be entrepreneurs. It may be out of some people’s comfort zones but consider the perks of entrepreneurship: the young graduate can create his own company, work at his own pace, generate an income for himself and employ others – without having to depend on any employer. It can also be good for the country’s economy to have more Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. This does not have to be the usual buy-and-sell or sari-sari store business but since we’re a consumer society, then any business along the service sector may be viable.
Finally, as parents, we can learn not to push our children to take courses they are not keen on taking, all because we want them to join the band-wagon or we have wanted to take it ourselves but somehow failed to do it when we were their age. We can also learn to appreciate their unique talents and abilities more and guide them towards achieving their own passions and goals. The world is out there for them to explore. As parents, we can guide, pray and advise them when needed. But in the end, it is their own life. We need to trust them to steer their own ship successfully towards their own dreams.