On Labor Day: Youth group hits unemployment for new grads
May 1, 2008
On Labor Day
Youth group hits unemployment for new grads
As Malacanang made a show of celebrating International Labor Day with a job fair held at the World Trade Center, youth group Anakbayan criticized the government’s failure to provide adequate jobs for new college graduates.
Anakbayan national chairperson Eleanor de Guzman blamed the government’s economic policies and labor-export programs for the insufficiency of job opportunities in the country, saying that graduates nowadays are only left with three choices – go abroad, accept jobs which do not match their degrees or become idle.
“Every year, fresh college graduates are confronted with the same problem of job scarcity, but our government’s response has always been for the former to look for greener pastures abroad or accept job offers which fall short of any acceptable standard or measure for anyone who finished tertiary education.”
“The sad reality is, after paying a large sum of money for college education, the few who manage to graduate are forced to accept any kind of paying job, regardless of their degrees, or opt to go abroad to earn money. Expect this situation to be aggravated by soaring prices, unjust wages and the present economic crisis,” de Guzman said.
De Guzman added that the government’s own job programs are contributing to the increasing jobs-graduates mismatch and underemployment in the country.
Every year, an estimated 400,000-500,000 new graduates add to the work force, according to data from the Commission on Higher Education.
“The government wants to create an illusion that it is solving the unemployment problem, yet the nature of jobs that it is offering new graduates, which mostly are call center or tourism jobs, do not match their undergraduate degrees – if they ever get to land jobs at all.”
Call centers only offer ‘part-time, irregular, cheap-paying jobs’
De Guzman also cited a 2007 study conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry which shows that Filipino call center workers stay an average of 2.5 years on the job, compared with about eight to nine months for Americans, which is also on a part-time basis.
“Even call centers confess that while there seems to be a large pool of English-speaking college graduates being churned out by Philippine schools, only a few qualify. Out of 100 applicants in a call center firm, for instance, only 5 to 10 are hired. Those who are hired, meanwhile, only receive a fifth of their American counterparts’ salaries.”
“Unless unemployment and underemployment are addressed with concrete and long-term policies instead of knee-jerk solutions meant as mere PR blitz, new graduates will yearly be confronted with these problems,” de Guzman said. ###