The government needs to institute a redirection of skills development program for its college students to address the rising unemployment, Senator Chiz Escudero said.

Escudero filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2091 or the National Career Assessment Examination Act (NCAE) to institutionalize a mechanism which will provide a redirection of skills development program in the tertiary level. It specifically aims to harmonize and match the supply coming from post-secondary institution with that of the demand of the country’s job market.

Latest data from the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Labor and Employment show that more than 700,000 graduates are expected to join the labor market on top of some 564,000 college graduates who are still looking for jobs.

“The country’s labor force grows annually with these new college graduates, yet firms oftentimes find it difficult to hire people who qualify for the position despite the number of jobseekers all over the country” Escudero explained.

He said there exists a mismatch between the Philippine labor market and the country’s graduates because “firms demand more experienced workers for existing vacancies, including entry-level position which should ideally be filled up by fresh college graduates.”

“The mismatch problem occurs as the workers required by companies for their vacancies are difficult to fill up due to shortage of talents in the labor pool. An Asian Development Bank study said labor mismatch is one of the culprits behind the country’s slow economic growth and that the mismatch may be caused by too many highly educated people chasing too few jobs in the country,” he said.

SBN 2091 shall institute NCAE, which would assess or evaluate every high school graduate’s potential to take either a four-year degree program, technical/vocational programs, courses in which they have better aptitude, or embark on entrepreneurship.

“We should aim to produce graduates that could be absorbed by the labor market. This bill addresses the labor mismatch between the needs of industries and the supply and quality of our college graduates,” Escudero further explained.