Fresh Graduate Hiring Shows Shift in Preferences and Skills

by - April 20, 2018

Many of us are once was a fresh graduate. With confident and a rosy outlook for life, we get battle-ready to look for a job that is permanent and with security of tenure. While some are lucky to find one, not many are fortunate enough. Requirements and employers’ expectations are hurdles to our dream jobs. With a batch of fresh graduates for 2018, mostly with K-12 education, do you think hiring them will be any different this year?

In a survey conducted by Philippines, the country’s largest online job portal, involving 503 employers from various parts of the country in February 2018 as part of its annual Fresh Graduate Report, employers now claim that aside from an applicant’s attitude or work ethic, they also place more consideration on communication skills and analytical thinking as top considerations when hiring fresh college graduates. This inclination toward interpersonal and 21st century skills showed the shift in hiring new graduates.

During the official release of the survey held in Makati last April 18, 2018, these results only reflect that there's a marked shift compared to 2015’s top determinants which are experience-based qualifications—on-the-job training, extra-curricular activities, and part-time work experience, which now see themselves in the bottom ranks.

Furthermore, when respondents were asked to rate particular qualities they observed on their fresh graduate hires, factors such as task management efficiency, leadership potential, customer empathy, and analysis of situations averaged the lowest. These ratings further reflect the preference of employers in hiring candidates who have already developed interpersonal and 21st century proficiencies despite being new to the workforce.      

Top School Preferences Maintained

But despite these marked changes, employers maintain their opinions on a topic most find traditional: the schools where the hired applicants graduated from. This year, when asked if they have reasons for sourcing employees from particular institutions, employers pointed out that they believe in the schools’ reputation of producing quality graduates and eventual employees.

The top three most preferred schools by most employers surveyed are Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, and Ateneo de Manila University. The inclusion of two schools outside of Metro Manila — University of San Carlos (#8) and University of Cebu (#9) also marks the first time tertiary institutions not located in the National Capital Region make their appearance in the top ten list since 2014 .

Increased salaries, opportunities

The report also indicates that fresh college graduates can expect an abundant job market this year. In the last quarter of 2017 alone, employers were bullish with 52,149 jobs available to fresh graduates—a 10% increase from 2016’s 47,339.

The national average salary for fresh graduates remains to be attractive at nearly Php20,000. The average of Php19,785 in the last quarter of 2017 shows a slight increase from 2016’s Php19,437.

According to, law graduates remain to be the best-paid among the lot, with an average monthly salary of Php27,355. This is followed by fresh graduates who take on roles in public relations/communications, with an average monthly salary of Php24,675, and those who specialize in creating content (i.e. content writer, foreign language content translator, and junior technical writer), with an average monthly salary of Php22,446.  Thus, the highest paid are more aligned towards content and communication-related jobs.

“This shows that more and more employers are opening their doors to fresh graduates, presenting a significant shift in what employers need in these increasingly digital world,” concludes Philip Gioca, Philippines Country Manager.   

A new crop of fresh graduates: K-12

It has been five years since the K-12 program was implemented, and the first batch of graduates from this system are set to join the workforce this year. The survey revealed that 25% of employers are willing to hire, while 40% are indefinite about hiring K-12 graduates. The 40% indefinite employers said they are still evaluating or will eventually hire pending definite timelines.

 For employers who are open, the survey affirms this as a number of industries have been identified as the most willing to hire K-12 graduates: BPO, manufacturing, professional services, retail, and machinery and equipment; for entry level jobs in administrative, customer service, sales and marketing.

With this non-committal attitude of employers, Mr. Gioca advises the newest entrants of the job market to be more discerning and strategic on their career planning. “There are indeed employers that are receptive to hiring them, but they have to contend with two factors: One, that not all employers are accepting of K-12 graduates as of the moment and two, they will have to compete with fresh college graduates, which employers may favor more, for the same jobs they are eyeing,” he pointed out. 

In terms of salary, K-12 graduates may find themselves sufficiently paid, as 50% of respondents said that they are willing to pay their K-12 fresh graduate hires more than the minimum wage.

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