OFFICIAL: Jobs mismatch to be reviewed

THE DEPARTMENT of  Labor and Employment will invite public and private sector partners, including representatives from Public Employment Service Office and local government units in May to address the problem of a mismatch between available jobs and the lack of qualified workers.

In a text message, DOLE communication officer Sherwin Manual said the agency is planning to hold the event in the city.

In an interview Monday at the sidelines of the weekly Kapehan sa SM, DOLE regional director Joffrey Suyao said the agency is also looking at discussing employment issues with career guidance counselors on how they could help guide applicants to choose a job that matches their qualifications.

“We are glad of course that the education sector is reviewing their curriculum and aligning it with the needs of the industry,” Suyao said.

Commission on Higher Education regional director Raul Alvarez, in a telephone interview, said that the information and communications technology sector remains to be the most promising industry for graduating students.

However, Alvarez was quick to point out that college graduates should not be easily swayed by the trending of jobs.

Suyao agreed that the largest share of employers are still the BPO industry.

While there is a demand for employees in the engineering and science and technology industries, only a few of the graduates are qualified for the jobs requiring their expertise.

Alvarez added that there are too many graduates of business courses because of the similar trends.

According to Alvarez, every year, there are about 3,000 to 4,000 graduates of engineering courses in the region. The problem, he said, is that of the 100 graduates, only 15 of them would eventually pass the board examinations.

Suyao said that they have already spoken to tertiary and technical vocational schools to refine the skill sets of the graduates they produce.

DOLE, meanwhile, has organized a network of career guidance counselors in both the public and private sectors.

Alvarez said, oftentimes, students follow the advice of their parents instead of finding the job that they want to work in.

The CHED regional director said students should find a niche so that when they graduate, they would not find it difficult to get a job that matches their skills.

Aside from the skills mismatch, Alvarez recognized that the career options of incoming employees were also historically defined by their geography.

“We in Davao have it better, since there are a lot of opportunities here,” he said. “But what about the other areas?”

“DOLE can only be the bridge for the message of the industry to the education sector or to the training institutions. But it would really be up to our educ sector if they will respond. We are happy that there is a response. We will continue to be an instrument. Our concern is the employability of our constituents,” Suyao said.

According to CHED memo No. 1, series of 2014, the agency identified information technology as among the top priority courses, with 10% allocation in terms of scholarships from academic year 2014-2015 to 2017-2018.

Under IT are courses in information technology and computing studies, multimedia, animation, programming, computer science, information system management, as well as courses in library science and information system (major in system analysis).

The memo said the priority courses list would be followed until 2018.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the employment rate for Davao region as of January 2015 is 94%, which rose from 93.6% from the same period last year.

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