April 20, 2017
Robert A. Vergara Jr.
Cover art Erka Capili Inciong
For a lot of ambitious graduates in Region III, the country’s capital is the place to jumpstart a career. For years, the belief that Manila is the land of milk and honey has fueled one too many mass migrations—a double‑edged sword because after braving the hustle and bustle of the city, they soon realize that working away from home is tough. There’s cultural adjustment and competition they have to surpass, not to mention the additional expense and emotional cost of independence that they have to pay.
Yet it seems those days will soon be over.
Given the country’s bustling economy and the administration’s direction toward infrastructure, there are industries that are expanding operations in Central Luzon. As such, three big companies locally headquartered in Metro Manila—SM Supermalls, VXI Global Solutions, and LafargeHolcim—gathered in March at the Baliuag University in Bulacan in a bid to recruit graduates for their operations in the region. The congress was organized by Baliuag University and JobStreet. It featured talks on hiring and employment, as well as a forum, where representatives wooed an audience of some 1,500 students from all over the region. Outside was a career fair, which drew droves of aspiring applicants.
Here’s why they—and you, too—should consider working in Central Luzon:
Art Erka Capili Inciong
Yolanda Buyco, marketing director of SEEK Asia, the company that brought the two online recruitment giants JobStreet and jobsDB under one roof, kicked off the forum by discussing the current market landscape for jobs in the Philippines.
She added that jobs in the business process outsourcing, retail, and the banking industries are the most in‑demand in the country, followed by manufacturing, food and beverage, automobile, real estate, agriculture, business consulting and health‑related fields jobs.
She also said that salaries outside the National Capital Region, especially in Central Luzon, are as competitive as those in the metro. In the said region, health care, education, information technology, pharmacy and accounting are among the top paying jobs.
She highlighted the importance of an applicant’s attitude, which topped the list of factors that employers considered upon hiring an employee based on JobStreet’s survey.
“Employers look for indicators of humility, and willingness to be trained in the systems and processes of the companies. They also look at the ability to collaborate and the flexibility to do any kind of job,” Ms. Buyco said.
“What will work best for you is humility. Be humble and accept whatever job is given to you because it will ultimately help you to do a good job in whatever you do for a company,” she added.
More than a pleasing personality, a requirement which has sparked some controversy in terms of recruitment ethics, Ms. Buyco also said that companies prefer those who possess basic skills in line with their respective fields.
“A pleasing personality is always nice to have but is no longer sufficient,” she said. “As they say, a pleasing personality can make you look good, but having the basic skills can make you impressive in the eyes of employers.”
A panel discussion moderated by SparkUp’s Multimedia Editor Pola del Monte followed, which focused on the talent marketplace in the country. Panelists included Mark Flores, service management head of construction materials manufacturer LafargeHolcim, Kristine Racela, talent acquisition manager of outsourcing company VXI, and Judy Chua, senior human resource manager of SM Supermalls. During the discussion, the speakers tackled their respective companies’ plan to expand recruitment and operations in Central Luzon. They also discussed the traits that they look for in an applicant as well as the impact of academic standing and appropriate social media behavior for job applicants.
“There is this idea that only [graduates from] the top schools are being entertained [by companies], so we’re breaking that mindset [to let graduates know that] employers are actually looking for anyone and that school is not an issue anymore,” JobStreet’s Country Manager Philip Gioca said at the sidelines of the event.
To cap off the event, he urged the students to “change the statistics”—pointing to his company’s recent survey that revealed how employers in the Philippines have a preference for graduates of the country’s top universities, all of which are based in Metro Manila.
“You have to chase a dream. You have to chase something that is bigger than you. You determine your future. You choose your career,” the online recruitment site bigwig said before the soon‑to‑be graduates.
With the expansion of companies in Central Luzon, dreams have spread beyond the capital.
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