PINIYALAN ONLINE: New, old job applicants and unemployment

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/22 March) There are too many feet looking for a shoe that fits. That’s quite an analogy for scarcity of jobs. Yet, millions of new jobseekers flood the labor market every year. It is just timely that one of our listeners offered this suggestion for the episode on March 22.

According to the National Statistics Office, in January of 2014, the Philippines’ jobless rate rose to 7.5 percent, up from 6.5 percent in the previous period and 7.1 percent a year ago.

There are nearly 3 million unemployed in the Philippines, up from 2.8 million in January 2013. Among the regions, the National Capital Region continued to have the highest unemployment rate at 11.2 percent, while it was 9.5 percent for January 2013.

This is a reminder to jobseekers planning to migrate to Metro Manila. Consider if the move would mean a real greener pasture.

Among the unemployed persons, 63.9 percent were males. Of the total unemployed, the age group 15 to 24 years comprised 48.2 percent, while the age group 25 to 34, 29.9 percent. Expect this figure to bloat even more with the entry to the work force of the new graduates from hundreds of universities around the country. Just a matter of fact- just count how many will graduate from Bukidnon’s two universities and several colleges.

By educational attainment, about one-fifth (19.8 percent) of the unemployed were college graduates. Indeed, having a college degree is clearly no more a guarantee to get a job. About 13.3 percent of the unemployed were college undergraduates, and 34 percent were high school graduates.

Of course, it is state/government obligation to find ways and means to address unemployment. This is one of the major obligations of the state to ensure welfare and security of the populace.

Initiatives to ensure job opportunities should emanate from all level of government: from the local, regional, to the national government.

Yes, the government can be a source of employment, in most cases on job order basis; but this is the traditional view. Government must do all it can to create a healthy business environment so that investments can come in — thus job opportunities from the private sector can come in.

Government does not have much choice. If it refuses to find means; then the worse might be possible: more poor, more hungry, and more trouble expecting to happen.

Another role of government is to ensure that basic education will be free. Tertiary education should be affordable. Aside from cost, government should also ensure quality of public and private tertiary education. There should be accessible alternative education systems for the masses.

While the government and business entities do their part; a job seeker must also find ways and means to improve qualification so he/she lands on a job and attracts the right wages and benefits.

Here are some tips for job seekers in this stage:
1. Build on capacity
This is actually going beyond being able to put something on the resume. This is actually being able to increase your job experience. It pays to work as a volunteer, for example. It pays to work for jobs not necessarily offering financial rewards –yet. If there is one already then just grab it and let training be on the job. If there is none, don’t use it to spend a date with idleness. Opportunities like a volunteer job offers learning experiences, and yes, an additional entry to your “job experience” in your resume or CV.

2.Connect to your own network
Anywhere you go to find jobs; it pays to know people. Maybe this should go on giving you a heads up on where the opportunities are. I don’t think it is healthy to win a job just because someone backed you up. There will always be something that could go wrong, somehow. Maybe one should rely on ones qualifications with some support from a backer. Warning: if a backer gets you on a job even if others are more qualified – you’ll be in sure trouble later on. Tap on the network appropriately.

3. Create and build your niche
Employers always look for potential candidates and it’s easy to become a needle in the haystack. They will look at certain work qualities and values; unique qualities that works with their expectations; not a generic type. There are intelligent and skilled people –yes you have to be – but you must also prepare yourself to practice work values; they emerge from your character, attitudes and behaviour.

“Pleasing personality, whatever they mean by it, is good for entry point. One needs to have genuine character, skills, work values, and commitment to stay on the job. (Warning for fresh graduates: This is highly influenced by behaviour and attitude in school or even at home. Talk of coming to school on-time, being honest with parents, etc).

Government has to do something about unemployment. The lookout must be from the local to the national level.

But an individual jobseeker must strive to improve his or her chances of landing at a desired job.

Be qualified.(Walter Balane/Bukidnon News)

(Piniyalan Online is the internet podium of Piniyalan 2013 to 2016 Reporting Governance Project, a partnership between Bukidnon News.Net and DXDB-AM Malaybalay. It airs Saturdays from 9-10a.m. on DXDB-AM Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines.)