SINGAPORE: A JobStreet.com survey recently conducted with 480 fresh graduates and 150 employers suggests that the top concerns raised by fresh graduates on job search are uncalled for.
Insufficient qualifications, often the top concern amongst graduates, was not listed as the top three hiring decisions from an employer's standpoint.
Instead, employers acknowledged the value of good interpersonal and communication skills as well as a good command of the English language above qualifications when hiring fresh graduates.
JobStreet.com added that among the fresh graduates who were hired, 40 per cent took between one to six months to secure a job whilst 32 per cent required more than six months to get employed. (not very encouraging IMO)
2 issues popped into my head after reading this news article online.
Insufficient qualifications and good interpersonal and communication skills as well as a good command of the English language above qualifications.
Let's deal each point accordingly.
What does this mean? The first thing that came into my mind was, 'What then amounts to sufficient qualifications' ?
We all know how the story unfolds, that Singapore is so tiny, that we have scarce natural resources, that we have only human resources to rely mainly on, that we are focusing on 2nd tier (manufacturing) and 3rd tier (tertiary) industries, that we are a knowledge-based economy no matter what. It is difficult to move away from this demographics of labour force. Thus, we need brains. Brains that will help boost the economy as a whole. Brains that can assist in research and development. Brains that can bring back more dough. Brains. Brains that work right.
The intense competition in Singapore has never been so stiff compared to the past. It's either you have it or you don't. It's either you are in or out (maybe out of Singapore soon altogether).
Degrees are now merely a fundamental requirement that one should possess when looking for jobs. It is now compulsory. It is now the norm.
Perhaps job application forms may do away the 'everything up to Bachelor' option in the 'Highest Qualifications' section. No more O Levels, A Levels and Bachelors. Only postgraduate studies (Masters - how many? Doctorates - how many?)
Yes, I may agree with this news article to some extent, that qualifications aren't everything. Recall the IQ vs EQ inverse relationship, though no absolute.
Fresh graduates would mean 'graduated with a degree and insufficient qualifications would mean 'course of discipline/classification of honours/awards)
Take for example, public service jobs. Most applicants are required to have a degree on hand and life is made even more difficult when it states, 'At least a 2nd Upper Honours', 'Must be from NUS/NTU/SMU' or worse still, 'Only 1st Class Honours' need apply. The rest of the crops (perhaps rotten in their eyes - sorry but you are just not good enough) need not apply.
'Insufficient qualifications' not their main focus when deciding which applicant to shortlist, hmm really?
Good interpersonal and communication skills as well as a good command of the English language above qualifications.
Of course, from the employer's perspective, having great interpersonal and communication skills as well as good command of English makes life easier when you are hired and when working together, no doubt. But in my opinion, I think it's time we come clean about qualifications.
You are judged by your highest qualifications even before you turn up for the interviews and during the shortlisting period. Try printing this new article and attach it with your resume and certs, and see how many employers would actually shortlist you for an interview.
Don't you think it is rather difficult to judge if one has great interpersonal skills (Definition : Interpersonal skills include not only how we communicate with others, but also our confidence and our ability to listen and understand. Problem solving, decision making and personal stress management are also considered interpersonal skills).
How do you judge this based on qualifications and activities when hiring fresh graduates?
How about communication skills? Notice it is inter-linked with interpersonal skills. Does it mean to say that students who major in communication studies are skillful in communications? How about joining the debate team? How about getting caught for talking in class causing distractions? :D
Good command of English language? Well, blatantly goes back to grades.
This article deals with situations 'when hiring fresh graduates', so, my question again, how do you determine these 3 set of values even before you meet them one on one for an interview?
Beats me, either.