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Filipino Youth Transition from School to Work: An Overlooked Social Problem

Debbie Mariz N. Manalili, University of Santo Tomas Abstract The World Youth Report 2012 was written in response to the current employment problems experienced by young people all over the world. In the same manner, this paper explores a

commonly overlooked social issue in the Philippines, which is the delayed youth transition from both qualitative and quantitative data. The importance educational and social capitals of the Filipino youth were discussed as they play vital roles in the transition process. Introduction

school-to-work. Most foreign and local studies are limited only to the economic implications of the issue in here, though it also bears social consequences. Interviews were conducted to gather data

The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) recognizes the problem of youth

transition from school-to-work, which they briefly discussed in the previous World Youth Reports (2003, 2005, 2007). This issue was further tackled through a series of e-discussions, and was despite their important role in finding decent work for all (UNDESA, 2012). It explores the parts of the globe. The World Youth Report 2012, entitled Youth Employment: Perspective on the Pursuit of Decent Work in Changing Times, it highlights how the voices of the youth go unheard transition of young people from school, which includes both formal education and skills training reality of poor quality of education, lack of skills, and skills-ill adapted to labour market needs which results to the delayed transition from school-to-work among the young people (2012). those between the ages of 15 and 24, while decent work pertains to the overall aspirations of allow you to grasp the context of my paper as of these terms are concerned.

published in this year’s report in response to the youth employment problems faced in the different

institutions, into the workplace. The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) argues that quality education could lead the youth into finding decent jobs; however, it also recognizes the Before proceeding, it is important to define two key concepts that I will be using repeatedly in this (young) people in their working lives (UNDESA, 2012). Understanding the two concepts would

paper, namely ‘youth’ and ‘decent work’. The term youth, according to the United Nations, refers to


I argue that the problem in the transition goes beyond the credentials obtained by today’s youth; in from school-to-work in the Philippines has caught the attention of researchers, both from within 2010) were, however, limited only to the economic implications of the issue in the country. I am society. and outside the field of Sociology. Most foreign and local studies (Bird, 2009; Bosch, 2011; Dewan, interested to unravel the social consequence of this phenomenon in the context of the Philippine Methodology 2008; Quijano, 2007; Quintini, Martin, & Martin, 2007; UNESCO-Bangkok, 2012; World-Bank, 2007,

other terms, finding decent work includes other social factors. The issue of delayed youth transition

Data for this research paper were gathered from both primary and secondary sources. I conducted structured interviews (Lune, Pumar, & Koppel, 2010; Marvasti, 2004; Neuman, 1997), commonly talked to the respondents. The respondents were between the ages of 15 and 24, hold a college my argument later on this paper. After conducting the interviews, I utilized Weft QDA, for secondary data, to help contextualize the argument in the discussion. Results degree, and are currently employed in their first job. The profile would hopefully help in proving asked to answer freely. Meaning, I constructed a set of questions based from the literature before I

used among the social sciences, containing ten open-ended questions which the respondents were

qualitative analysis, for the open coding of the responses, and Microsoft Excel, for getting the mean, frequency and valid percentage of the quantitative data. Both foreign and local literatures related to the delayed youth transition from school-to-work in the Philippines were also gathered, as the I present in this section the demographic profile and responses acquired through the use of the structured interview. In addition to the original profile that I have in mind upon the the other hand,

conceptualization of this paper, Table 1 Profile of Respondents shows that the people I interviewed are of the same age, which is 21, and all are female. I choose to document this demographic as it the mean of 2.00 and the median of 1.62. Table 2 GWA Mean and Median shows General Weighted Average (GWA) of the respondents have

reflect a different situation of young women as to what the World Youth Report (2012) presents. On


Table 1 Profile of Respondents No. 1 Age 21 21 21 Sex F F F Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila University BSBAFinance and Treasury Management AB English Literature AB Sociology Major Year of Graduation 2012 2011 2012 GWA 2.00 1.62 GWA 1.38 3.00 1.62 Current Employed as… Admin Assistant

2 3

Ateneo de Manila University University of Santo Tomas

High School Faculty HR

Table 2 GWA Mean and Median Mean Median

First, I asked the participants whether their respective Universities provided them with both

theoretical and practical (applications) lectures. As seen in Table 3, two of the participants said no not enough and she felt that the theories taught were not adequate for the demands of today’s Universities did provide venues for skills training including seminars and workshop. Table 3 Were you taught both theoretical and practical lessons? Frequency Yes No Total 2 3 1 33% % 67% labour market. However, all of the three respondents answered in the second question that their

while only respondent no. 2 said that she received a balance of theory and practical application. One of the participants said that even if a venue was provided for their class to apply the theories, it was

The third question inquired about whether their Universities had job guidance initiatives for their respective Universities while the other said that there was no such efforts.

graduating students. Table 4 shows that two of the participants felt the job guidance initiatives of



Table 4 Job Guidance Initiative Frequency Yes No Total 1 3 2 67% % 33%

In the fourth question, the respondents revealed (Table 5) that the actual length of searching for a higher GWA found their first job faster than the other who has a passing GWA. Table 5 How long did you search for your first job? Minimum Maximum (in months) 3 12

their first job after graduation varied; wherein the minimum was three months while the longest


duration went up to 12 months or approximately a year regardless of their University. In Table 6, I

cross tabbed the duration of their job search with the respondents’ GWA. It appears that those with

Table 6 Looking at the GWA and the Duration of Job Search Respondent No. 1 2 3 GWA 1.38 3 1.621 Duration of Job Search (in months) 3 12 3


Table 7, sixty-seven percent of the respondents said that yes they are using their skills in their current job while 33% or one of them said that she is not using her skills. Table 7 Are you using your skills? 2 1 Frequency Yes No 67% 33% 4 %


Table 8 shows that a college graduate’s first job may not be their ideal job. However, one said that the University.

she is in her ideal job as she wanted to work in the corporate world even before she graduated from Table 8 Are you in your ideal job? 1 2 3 Frequency Yes No Total work. 33% 67% %



All of the respondents agreed that having a college degree actually contributes to finding decent Table 9 Having a college degree contributes to finding decent work 3 0 3 Frequency Yes No Total 100% % 0% 100%


Qualitative Data

I utilized the software Weft QDA for the open coding of the qualitative data from the three summary of the themes and responses are shown below in Balanced lectures in the present situation.

interviews. Responses were categorized into broad themes depending on the answers’ nature. The Table 10. The data reveals that Theoretical Domination and Lack of Application prevail over the Second, while most Universities offer job guidance initiatives, a respondent said that it was not helpful for her field and there may be irrelevance. As for the other respondent, she received practical tips from her professors which she considers as job guidance. Third, three difficulties


when it comes to finding their first job arose namely Lack of Work Experience, Underemployment, and Lack of Public Knowledge about their major. social capital in order to get the job. As mentioned in

Though they experienced a certain delay in finding their first work, all three respondents used their Table 7, one of them said she feels as if she in underemployed while two of them are said their and experience. that you have to work for your ideal job. As for the two who said that they are not in their ideal job, they appear to be working because of two things: one, to build networks, and two, to build skills graduates while challenges include a competitive labour market and lack of work experience. According to one of the participants, the Universities should start teach their students Opportunities for young people come mainly from companies who are looking for young and fresh specializations and give trainings about the ‘real’ world before they graduate. She sees college undergraduates as ‘sheltered’ from the actual situation of the labour market. Lastly, there are two themes as to what they think the role of the government is regrading the youth transition from accessible information to the youth including job fairs, for them to secure better employment. Table 10 Qualitative Data Matrix of Themes and Responses Questions Aside from the theoretical lectures, were you also taught of practical applications? If yes, is it balanced between the two? If no, which of the two was dominant? Balanced Themes Theoretical Domination, Lack of Application Responses Res1 [890-930] No.. Theoretical lectures were dominant.

skills, which is confirmed on the table below. However, only one of them has her ideal job and states

school-to-work. First, the government should provide the young people with job opportunities from creating jobs to allowing them to work overseas. And second, the government should provide easily

Res3 [3-236] More theoretical lectures, kahit may immersion, hindi pa rin applicable. Kulang ung pang practical. More on theorists. Theories for HR. Modern theories naman sana, innovation. Akma sa ngayon. Di nagagamit ngayon, medyo obsolete kasi. Res2 [853-883] Yes. The two were balanced.


Were there job guidance initiatives before you graduated? Enumerate. If yes, were they helpful?

Not helpful, irrelevant

Practical tips

Res2 [1077-1140] Yes, although they were not very helpful with my particular field. Res3 [428-725] Yes, from profs. Socio to Corporate-yung mga suggestions o gagawin dapat makakatulong for both outside the box. Kung ano yung ginagagawa nila, mas madali kang makakagalaw sa labas Res1 [1287-1321] 3 months, lack of work experience. gumawa ka ng iba. make your connections outsideRes2 [1299-1402] * Approximately 1 year. Lack of work experience, difficulty in balancing graduate school and employment

the company and the society, in line ka pero you think

How long did you search for a job after graduation? What were the issues you faced? (i.e. lack of work experience, skills not matched what the job demands)

Lack of Work Experience

Underemployment Res3 [773-861] Pag researcher, usually for marketing/psych/business; Lack of Public Major Knowledge about How did you access your first job? (i.e. classified ads, network/social capital) Social Capital nahanapan mag hanap in-line sa tin Res3 [870-1023] di masyadong kilala yung course (socio) kung anong magagawa nito sa HR; bakit socio ang tinake mo; di Res1 [1408-1418] Referral. Res2 [1489-1513] Professional connections alam kung ano yung skills na nakuha from pag aaral

Res3 [1026-1219] lack of work experience-OJT sa NGO (more on admin OJT malaking bagay.

works) malaking bagay when you work, OK yung may

Res3 [1280-1412] From cousin a. Primary-connection/social capital/networks i. Dumaan pa din sa process ng application, except for 7

the first interview Underemployed Skills are used Res1 [1562-1666] No. Underemployment is a big factor but I would not have accepted the job if it wasn’t for the company. Res3 [1433-1799] Di masasabing underemployed, kasi iba yung perspective when it comes to situations in work pero jive naman. Nakaka connect naman ang socio. Yes , nagagamit yung skills and qualifications. Writing, mga tao, pero thinking outside the box. Archi mahinder ang development interpersonal. Makikipamuhay sa mga ginagawa ng Ideal Job firm=Urban planning (applicable ang socio) para di kasi nakikipagusap iintindihin mo yung mga bagay. to work for your ideal job

Are you making use of your skills and qualifications, acquired from school, in work? If not, is this your choice or due to underemployment?

Are you in your ideal job? If not, how are you trying to reach your goal?

Res3 [1803-1986] Yes, ideal job ang HR. Bilang nag iinteract ang socio,

Building Network Building Skills and

Gusto talaga mag work sa corporate world. You have my goals. Having a job in a good company will open doors for better opportunities in the future.

Res1 [1759-1915] but I think being a part of Shell is a good start to reach Res2 [1742-1868] No. By trying to make the most out of my current employment experience in terms of skill and personal and professional growth Res1 [2013-2096] There are many outsourcing companies that encourage fresh grads to work with them. Res3 [2009-2072]

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by young job seekers?



Res2 [1966-2076] there are a lot of venues for finding jobs (online, job fairs), and more “natures” of employment are available 8


Young/Fresh Grads-companies are looking for fresh and new ideas Res1 [2108-2147] Underemployment and lack of experience. Res2 [2092-2123] competition is more aggressive

Does having a college degree helpful in achieving a decent work? If not, what should the Universities be teaching? What is the role of the government in helping with the youth’s transition from school to work?

Specialization and Training

Job Opportunities

Res3 [2090-2182] For newly grads=Lack of Experience/Backgroundtitignan pa din yung skills and qualifications Res3 [2684-3026] Dapat i-ready yung mga students pag labas nila. Dapat may training (workshops, seminars) about work. Kung paano makaka adjust at adapt. Skills in-line with course & jobs/careers available outside. Preparation and training outside. ‘Sheltered’ ang mga students, tapos medyo generalized ang pag tuturo. Malawak tapos hanging, tapos walang depth Res1 [2375-2531] The government should expose fresh graduates to more opportunities by conducting job fairs and opening jobs for young professionals in government agencies. Res3 [3082-3171] Government should allow more private investors, para makatayo ng company-opens more work. na mag OFW Res3 [3175-3234] On OFW, open yung bansa na mabigyan opportunity easily accessible information


Res2 [2350-2431] To be able to secure employment better by providing

There is a problem in the youth transition from school-to-work. The delays shown above are only Discussion this part, I’ll be discussing the two elements seen from the data that affect the youth’s quest for decent work.

three to 12 months, but some young people search for their jobs even beyond that time period. In


It is mentioned in the World Youth Report 2012 that quality education goes hand in hand with Education

finding decent work (UNDESA, 2012). However, one question remains in my mind as I finish this people who claimed to have undergo a theoretical dominated Universities. It appears that their the quality of college education that they obtained. Skills training and specialization, which should also be considered. Social Capital ease their transition from school-to-work. Universities should be teaching both theories and

paper. What do we mean by quality education? Based on the data gathered, those with higher GWAs (Table 6) have shorter duration of job search. Although, these two respondents were also the same unfortunately is not a fundamental part of most Universities, are keys in helping the young people General Weighted Average played a part for them to be employed, but it does not necessarily reflect practical applications to their undergraduates; though the relevance of the lessons to current times The term ‘social capital’ is defined as relationships between individuals, families, groups, or

communities that provide access to valuable benefits and/or resources (Turner, 2006). The

respondents, although indirectly, admitted to have used their social capital to access their first looking for your first job. These people could eventually make, or break, the future career of a young person. Conclusion

work after college; a socioeconomic benefit on their part. However, the three of them still went

under the process of application of their respective companies. Based on their experience, I could

say that having networks (whether they be professional or not) is crucial, especially when you are

The problem of delayed youth transition from school to work is a reality here and elsewhere in the issue is rarely talked about. Gender, at this point of time, is no longer an issue as most of the respondents are female. There are two things that are proven helpful with this transition, namely education and social capital. However, our quality of education must be improved to keep up with job. As this problem concerns the Filipino people, the government should do its part by giving job

world. It affects the both the Philippine economy and society; although the social implication of this the changing demands of the market while using our social capital is not an assurance to getting the


opportunities and providing easily accessible information for the youth to secure better employment.


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