Sometimes many youths are discouraged when companies who interview them don’t even bother to answer, as if they did not exist, as if they were not needed. Maybe we can try to stay close to our youths during these moments by trusting them and encouraging them to keep on sending their resumes…

Today there is no such thing as a permanent job. People change jobs easily. Many youths we know are working abroad where they are usually valued but at what psychological costs? And those who remain live in unstable jobs! Fortunately, many respond to this by inventing new ways to make a living such as getting together and rediscovering forgotten occupations such as craftsmanship or agriculture with modern technology. Others throw themselves into the Internet with creativity. Some go into the food business.

Work is at the base of social life. It allows the creation of a familiar core. When this is not possible, an emotional state of agitation and sadness is created. The situation is complicated when youths especially out of school youths, ages 15 to 24, are the first to not find work. In the Philippines, according to statistics, youth unemployment, however, remains high at 14.1 percent of its about 20 million youths. “The share of inactive youth remains a concern. The government must equip students with industry-relevant competencies as well as increase their opportunities for work experience.

A stronger academe-industry linkage should orient students better on career prospects,” said Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority, Ernesto M. Pernia. Data from the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) showed that in 2016, 4.2 million or 21.7 percent of the 19.84 million youths neither go to school nor hold jobs. According to DOLE, 3.14 million or 73 percent of the youth classified under “not in education and employment” (NEE) status were economically inactive or not in the labor force. The agency defined NEE as those who lack access to education or training and labor market due to poverty, lack of qualification and health issues.

In 2017, DOLE said the number of NEE in the labor force increased from 1.08 million (2016) to 1.15 million (2017). The DOLE said prolonged NEE status could adversely affect the labor market prospects of the youth and increase the risk of continued cycle of poverty. Leaving young people without work leads to the decrease of developmental skills, and, even if this does not happen, to remain without work for a long time decreases the learned connections at school.

Many of our young people dream to go abroad and most of their training here in the nation are geared for that goal in order to earn more to help their families here in the Philippines while seeking greener pastures. However, our country should not be abandoned, we must seek to rebuild it together. What can we do? Every youth wants to put before everything else his passion.

But in this situation, we must ask ourselves: “Is it worthwhile to focus on one’s passion alone?” So what do we need to ask when choosing a university course? Is this course actually achievable in the working world, or is it better to focus on a secondary passion which allows us to find more employment?

This is also applicable in job hunting. It is not practical to follow a single passion which will cause us to be unemployed later. For example, if you have a passion for the arts, it would be better to set it aside for the moment and choose a job that will employ us immediately. We can work on your passion later on as soon as we start earning and become financially independent.

What are the sectors where young workers are likely to find opportunities? Based on trends from the last decade, an International Labor Organziation (ILO) report observed the following prominent growth sectors for young workers: financial services; trade, hotels, and restaurants; transport and storage, information and communications; and health services, including care work and social work activities.

Particularly in the Philippines, there is a demand for the BPO business, being one of the top destinations for business-process outsourcing (BPO). There is also a perennial need for teachers especially in the elementary and high school levels.

Starting with jobs that can help rebuild the nation or even taking time to volunteer
in some NGOs can go a long way. One beautiful book that encourages to persevere at work even if the work is menial, is a bestselling book by Regina Brett: God is Always Hiring.

Brett narrated how she was able to connect the dots of her previous menial jobs since her youth, jobs which later proved to be beneficial for her future job as a journalist. For young people, it is better to start with “small jobs” in companies that can immediately hire them, and persevere in any task given them even in the face of obstacles and discouragement. Every employment can be a stepping stone for specialization in a certain field. As the old adage says, “Experience is the best teacher.”

Marina Gui, Marco D’Ercole and Jose Aranas

Sources: PhilStar, Manila Bulletin

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