The employment chances of a fresh college graduate is only 4 in 10, with only 1 in that 4 attaining work relevant to one’s course. Even in light of the unprecedented growth of 6. 6% in GDP over the last year, the labor sector fails to follow suit in what economists characterize as a “job-shedding” growth. So where does a college degree place us? With the increased pressures on the youth to attend college, many consider the existence of a higher education bubble.
The concept hypothesizes, in part, that movements in factors such as tuition payments and unemployable graduates severely decrease the rate of return to a college degree up to a point where it is rendered useless. In the case of the Philippines, effective capping of tuition fees to relatively affordable rates, spaces us from a bubble as of yet. However, it is to be stressed that with everyone jumping in the college wagon all at once – as is apparent now– we will soon find college degrees as no more useful than scratch, and then the true bubble begins.
There are too many college graduates. All college students should be aware that although a degree does open doors it loses much of its value as more and more people achieve this accolade. In 2012, a total of 517,425 college students graduated and entered the labor force. With another half a million expected to graduate in March this year, there is increasing concern on their place in the labor market. The number of graduates increase over the years, however jobs increase terribly less, if they increase at all – 882,000 jobs were reported to have disappeared in 2012.
Since too many people compete for the same job, employers can afford to lower wages or increase qualifications as much as possible. This is apparent in the over qualification of some jobs – now supermarket baggers or janitors are expected to have had some years of college or even graduated the same, as opposed to the minimum of high school undergraduate in most other countries. College courses are insufficient or incompatible with jobs offered in the market. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) holds job and livelihood fairs across the country, recently offering a total of 360,777 job vacancies.
But on a nationwide count only 5,101 job applicants were hired on the spot. In another attempt, the government posted in its Phil. JobNet website 230,000 jobs but only 117,000 applied. Apparently, the jobs created by the government are inconsistent with what graduates believe they deserve or were trained for in those four or more years of education. To add, even once employed underemployment lingers – tainting up to about 7. 2 million job matches – with insufficient base pay as main culprit. Nearly everyone believes a college education is essential.
In our society, the college degree has been stigmatized as the best and surest – and sometimes only – path to take in preparation for one’s career. This is contestable however as evidenced in European countries where entrepreneurship and technical education are much more popular and profitable paths than college. The Philippines doesn’t necessarily lack these options, (i. e. TESDA) rather we lack awareness and social approval for these said alternatives. Solutions De-emphasize the necessity of a college degree.
The higher education system of countries like Germany, remain stable and un-depreciated, since non-professional or non-corporate jobs are highly popular and equally regarded with college education. Removing the stigma of a college degree can relieve pressure on prices and rates of return to higher education. Therefore, introducing and popularizing technical courses – which are actually highly demanded – can solve much of the Philippine labor problem. Redesigning colleges and curriculums to incorporate in-demand jobs. Supply may be easier adjusted to cope with the requirements of demand, rather than the other way around.
Close association with firms accompanied by an overhaul of course curriculums to better suit the needs of employers can effectively reduce mismatch. Administrators and faculty should understand the factors at work in how their programs are depreciating since if the market for college degrees becomes over-saturated we will all pay the price of meaningless degrees and poor opportunity for many in the workplace. Many experts and opinions point to the government’s futile efforts at job creation (i. e. demand) as the main antagonist in this story. However, the equally policy-relevant yet rarely focused upon supply side of labour may
offer other, more easily interceded directions. Solving the Philippines’ problems on labour is a tall order however attacking from all sides – both demand and supply – can better efforts towards the nationwide goal of inclusive growth. Reference: Higher Education Bubble Will Burst, May 3, 2011 http://www. usnews. com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/05/03/higher-education-bubble-will-burst, Accessed February 11, 2013 The Value of a Degree, May 06, 2011 http://www. popecenter. org/commentaries/article. html? id=2517, Accessed February 11, 2013 Joblessness: How deep, what needs to be done?, February 06, 2013.
http://www. bworldonline. com/content. php? section=Opinion&title=Joblessness:-How-deep,-what-needs-to-be-done? &id=65457, Accessed February 11 ,2013 For inclusive growth: Jobs with higher wages, February 9, 2013 http://www. philstar. com/opinion/2013/02/09/906642/inclusive-growth-jobs-higher-wages, Accessed February 11 ,2013 Oversupply of Unemployable Graduates, January 23, 2010 http://planetphilippines. com/migration/a-disastrous-oversupply-of-unemployable-graduates, Accessed February 11 ,2013 Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics Commission on Higher Education.
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