Companies told to focus on competency when hiring

Companies should look at the required competencies of a job position rather than requiring a college degree in their hiring process, according to a business-led education advocacy group.

Companies should look at the required competencies of a job position rather than requiring a college degree in their hiring process, according to a business-led education advocacy group.

In an interview with reporters, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) Workforce Program director Justine Raagas said that companies usually use the college degree requirement for job applicants as a screening mechanism for the hiring process.

“Sometimes there’s so many resumes coming in, so the first way for companies to screen job applicants is to just check if they’re college graduates or not,” Raagas said.

“We encourage companies to think of competencies. Meaning, they should think carefully about what the actual job is and what the tasks entail so when they hire or put out job ads, they don’t check paper qualifications first, but the actual competencies,” Raagas said.

While checking for competencies may entail more work for the human resources department compared to using the college degree requirement as a screening mechanism, companies should view this from a business cycle perspective, according to PBEd executive director Lovelaine Basillote.

“In the business cycle of things, it actually costs a lot of money when it comes to hiring an overqualified person-- when you hire an overqualified person, they could easily get bored with the job. They will also just leave and turnover becomes high. Recruitment costs money,” Basillote said.

She said that companies should consider an overall review of their recruitment process to make sure that they are able to hire just the right skills needed for the job.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual stressed earlier the need for companies to review their hiring qualifications to be able to accept K to 12 graduates.

“If you look at it, the job descriptions today almost all require a college degree. That should be changed because we have K to 12 now,” he said.

Pascual emphasized that the purpose of the K to 12 program was to produce holistic Filipinos.

“This means when you graduate, assuming that the K to 12 was implemented properly, you can start working. You don’t need to go to college,”Pascual said in Filipino.

Pascual, however, pointed out that the mindset of people today is that students won’t be fully prepared for work if he/she does not have a college degree.

He emphasized that this is an erroneous mindset.

Pascual emphasized that there might be a need for a review of the education system to make sure that the country has all the ingredients for running a K-12 program that’s well designed and well implemented.

Both Basillote and Raagas expressed support for Pascual’s encouragement to employees to consider hiring more K to 12 graduates.

Raagas explained that when the first batch of grade 12 graduates entered the workforce in 2018, they observed that businesses were hesitant in hiring these graduates.

“We did a survey and what we saw then was that only one out of five companies were willing to hire and ready to hire. So that’s really 20 percent,”Raagas said.

She explained that PBed did a later survey where it matched the competencies that are learned or should be learned by senior high school graduates versus the competencies required for an entry level job.

“We did that in multiple sectors and what we found out was that actually on average 93 percent of the competencies matched,” Raagas said, adding that this is something most employers are not aware of.

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