Filipino parents understand the struggle. They bust their balls working so that they can afford to send their kids to college. Many parents hustle to meet the financial demands of the country’s top universities, trusting that these schools would later afford their children opportunities that may not come as easy to those who hold diplomas from other learning institutions.
Jobstreet.com.ph recently published some data that sheds some light on current hiring statistics from local employers. Factoring in work experience, extracurriculars, grades, and school, the Polytechnic University of The Philippines came out on top for churning out the choice graduates. UST came in at second, while Ateneo and UP are gnawing at each other for third. DLSU didn't even make the Top Five.
The survey results, as reported by several news sources, are making the rounds on social media.
These findings have challenged that notion perpetuated by Filipino grandparents everywhere that only four universities count as elite, namely Ateneo, De La Salle, University of The Philippines, and UST. To their credit, these schools have consistently excelled with their world-class curriculums, making the premium tuition worth their parents' blood, sweat, and tears. Employers and everyone who are in some way invested in an individual's education have expectations that are somewhere along the lines of "you get what you pay for."
We asked several companies anonymously if there is any reason they would not hire an applicant from a top tier school.
Here are some of their answers:
“The nature of a BPO job can be perceived as mundane. We find that graduates of top tier schools don't have the patience to last in the job. It's not because the job is too easy, it might actually be surprisingly complex and they quit to find other less stressful options.” —Hiring Manager, Multinational BPO IT Company
“Sa Comm Arts kasi, usually ang start mo, Prod Assistant, Researcher. So sa schools na yan, bihira naman mangyari sa UP ‘yun pero minsan ayaw nila mag-start ng mababa and mautusan. Gusto nila may say sila agad.” —Hiring Manager, Local Broadcasting Station
“One word: entitled. Alam mo kasi yang mga yan tingin nila porke't pinag-aral sila sa best schools eh di na sila pwede sa mga measly jobs. Para silang millennials times two.” —CEO, Local Events Company
“They feel entitled to higher pay, especially fresh graduates who came from ‘the schools.’ What they don’t realize is they all have the same value because they all lack work experience.” —Hiring Manager, Multinational Telecommunications Company
A recruiting manager from a multinational IT company explained that a lot of fresh graduates from the top schools have behavioral issues in the workplace that directly affect performance, citing examples such as complaining about administrative tasks that they feel diminish their values as skilled workers.
She added that an employee with excellent cognitive skills adds immense value to an application, as well as a good behavioral assessment. “Some schools do not deliver on their promise,” she said of hires that later on fail to meet the workplace standards on adaptability and learning.
All of the respondents maintain that their respective companies are equal opportunity employers and do not pick and choose based solely on schools. The above are impressions left by graduates from the aforementioned but now displaced “top four.”
The responses mention attitudes that are in stark contrast with what employers have found of PUP graduates. In an Inquirer report, JobStreet Philippines Country Manager Philip Gioca said of PUP hires, “They have reasonable demands and they don’t usually display an attitude of self-entitlement. They also tend to stay longer in a company and they don’t leave at the slightest difficulty.”
“Entitlement” is a word thrown around a lot lately to describe the ailments of the current entry-level working generation. Millennials in particular are being accused of possessing this characteristic that seems to take away the humility out of “the first job.” With DLSU, ADMU, UST, and UP graduates leaving these kinds of impressions on recruiters, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the preferences are shifting. Trainability is a significant individual attribute that is highly valued by companies, so who wouldn’t want a humbler and more efficient employee?
Having different universities emerging as the top contenders for local employment can only be a good thing. It sets an air of competitiveness that do not involve sheer school reputation, but a call to all universities and colleges to raise their standards and produce better graduates. Now that we know what employers are looking for, the challenge is not only in terms of academic excellence, but in having individuals acquire the right attitude to set them up for success.
Photo via Boring.ph; Argeltiburcio.com