A college degree may not necessarily mean greater chances of landing a job, the chief state statistician said, noting that Pinoys with higher educational attainments tend to be "choosy" with work.
Nearly one of every five unemployed Pinoys is a college graduate, National Statistical Coordination Board Secretary-General Jose Ramon Albert.
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"[D]espite the attainment of a college diploma, college graduates comprised at least 18 percent of the total unemployed," Albert said in his latest "Beyond the Numbers" analysis.
This is the third highest share of the total unemployed in terms of educational attainment from 2006 to 2011, he added, citing data from the latest Labor Force Survey.
In 2011, those with college degrees or higher educational attainments comprised 20.2 percent of the unemployed, up from 19.5 percent in 2010.
High school graduates had the highest share of the total unemployed Pinoys at 33.6 percent, followed by college undergraduates at 21.8 percent.
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Interestingly, high school undergraduates comprised only 11.5 percent of the unemployed in 2011.
The share of the total unemployed is even lower for elementary graduates (6.9 percent) and undergraduates (5.7 percent).
Filipino college graduates also wait an average of 4.3 months before finally getting jobs with average salaries of P8,474.38 a month, Albert said, citing results from the 1999 Graduate Tracer Study.
But this may not necessarily arise from a lack of job vacancies in fields which normally require college graduates.
Most unemployed college graduates are those with degrees in medical courses; trade, craft and industrial designs programs; as well as engineering and architectural courses.
On the other hand, the hardest job vacancies to fill include accountants and auditors, electronics and communications engineers, as well as systems analysts and designers, Albert said, citing data from January 2009 to June 2010.
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These data, Albert said, are consistent with earlier observations that "unemployed college graduates have the tendency to be 'choosy' in seeking jobs."
Citing the 1999 GTS, Albert said more than 40 percent of college job-seekers say they are unemployed because there is no job opening in field of specialization; they have no interest in getting a job; starting pay is low; and there is no job opening within the vicinity of residence.
While lack of competencies or skills as well as experience were the top reasons for difficulty in filling these job vacancies, but another reason often cited by employers was high salary expectation from job-seekers.
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"Could it be because most of these college graduates are not breadwinners in their respective families, and hence, can manage to delay their entry into the workforce?" Albert said.
He admitted, however, that quality of instruction is a factor that "clearly affects employability of college graduates."
This, as Albert expressed concern over "rather low" passing rates in professional licensure examinations in recent years.
Only 35.37 percent of Pinoys who took licensure exams across all disciplines in 2011 passed. Although higher than the rate of 33.91 percent in the previous year, this is lower than the 11-year high of 38.79 percent recorded in 2008.