Help wanted

Published by rudy Date posted on March 24, 2011

Job and career-related web sites continue to be one of the fastest-growing categories online, which is not surprising as the number of people seeking job opportunities continues to rise as students graduate and join the labor force.

At the same time, more business are filling vacancies from an ever growing pool of online candidates, making the Internet an opportunity for both employers and job hunters.

Based on a report by the National Statistics Office (NSO), about 2.9 million Filipinos nationwide were unemployed as of the end of last year, representing an unemployment rate of 7.3%. The labor force population is 38.9 million.

As of January, the NSO reported that the country’s unemployment rate grew to 7.4%. Almost half (44.9%) of these unemployed were aged 15 to 24. More than third (35.1%) were high school graduates, and almost two-fifths (39.1%) reached college.

The unemployment figures are expected to be worse when the NSO releases the second round of its 2011 Labor Force Survey next month, as new college graduates start searching fo rjobs, and overseas Filipino workers displaced due to the continuing unrest in the Arab world and the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan come home and look for work. (Unemployment in April 2010 was at 8%, up from 7.5% in the same month in 2009.)

Job-seekers have turned to a variety of ways to look for job openings, including wading through the World Wide Web. Thankfully, the Internet is rife with employment opportunities, with hundreds of job openings and positions posted everyday. There is no shortage of web sites, job banks, and employment portals that are willing to help people land their dream jobs.

“The reach of online is growing at the fastest rate, while other media are either contracting or growing at a very slow place. Internet penetration is likewise growing, and the demographics of users reflect the more in-demand profile of job-seekers nowadays,” said Grace Colet, country manager of job web site Philippines (

“Online [job web sites] also offer other unique advantages over traditional media such as print with the skills matching system, database consolidation, automation of critical recruitment processes, speed in processing, and also quite importantly — cost savings,” she added in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

Taking it to the street

JobStreet operates the ( online recruitment web sites presently covering the employment markets in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Japan and Thailand. Since 1995, JobStreet has served over 60,000 corporate customers and over seven million job-seekers. JobStreet is listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities (JOBST).

In the Philippines, JobStreet started in 1999 as a joint venture between JobStreet Malaysia, and the Gokongwei-led conglomerate JG Summit Holdings, Inc.

“Lance Gokongwei and one of the directors of JobStreet were classmates in University of Pennsylvania. They got to talking about the business model… and decided to do a partnership to bring it here to the Philippines,” Ms. Colet said.

Ms. Colet said JobStreet is the number one job site in the Philippines, with the biggest job market share — more than 35% — compared to other major players in the recruitment advertising business (including print and online).

“We have the largest database of job-seekers (over three million job-seekers with our nearest competitor just over a half of that) and currently the most visited [site] with over 4.8 million unique visitors per month,” Ms. Colet said.

She said that 80% of the Top 1000 companies of the country post their job listings with JobStreet Philippines, aside from thousands of small and medium enterprises, as well as the different employers from the provinces.

Among the top employers posting their openings on JobStreet Philippines are San Miguel Corp., Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, Sun Cellular (Digital Mobile Philippines, Inc.), JG Summit Holdings Inc., Universal Robina Corp., Convergys Philippines, and Teleperformance Philippines, among others.

Ms. Colet said about 26% of the postings on JobStreet are for supervisors to managers and up, 23% are for fresh grads, and about 50% for applicants with one to four years of work experience.

“In terms of location, we have over 12,000 or 30% of total jobs for overseas openings. It cuts across all specializations, from IT, Engineering, Finance, Sales/Marketing and other specializations,” she said.

In a survey of 300 senior executives and executives in the Philippines conducted by JobStreet last February, 79% of the respondents plan to shift from their present jobs to another one in the search for better salaries, or exploring a different career path, looking for better work exposure, and seeking better work-life balance.

Out of this total, 74% of the respondents search for their jobs through job search web sites — boosting the number of job-seekers beyond the unemployed and the fresh graduates.

In another survey of about 900 JobStreet clients, managers and senior managers across various industries in the Philippines conducted last January, 35% of the employers were rather guarded when it comes to likely hiring activities, saying that they are hiring less for the next 12 months.

Respondents were also asked about what kinds of job specializations are in current demand. Currently, people with skills in computers and IT, business development and sales and marketing are most needed, followed by workers with knowledge of customer service, computers and information technology and human resources. People with knowledge in accounting, engineering, and clerical work and general administration are also needed at this point in time.

“We believe that the Filipino people are very talented and by helping them find better jobs faster and easier, we help them maximize their talents and improve their lives this way,” Ms. Colet said.

“For employers, we cut recruitment costs and the opportunity costs brought about by delays in hiring. We help businesses hire better talent by giving them better options; more computer-literate candidates, and by providing filter tools. For many businesses, hiring the right people on time can mean the difference between winning and losing. We help companies become successful by helping them hire the right talent they need at the right time, not only with our technology and service, but by sharing our years of expertise,” she added.

“This is the future, as the younger generation goes fully online… you have to be there or you lose out to competition.”

Keeping costs down

Jayjay Viray, managing director of JobsDB Phils, Inc., which operates the job web site, said going online makes it cost-efficient for job applicants to submit their resumes to many employers.

“The job trend has gone online as more and more job-seekers are finding it convenient to search for jobs through the Net. The traditional way would cost him at least P200 a day just to commute, have merienda (snack), buy envelopes, and print several resumes as he goes from one interview to another, or attempt to find a job by ‘walking in’,” Ms. Viray told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.

“With the online job search, a job-seeker need only spend P20 an hour at the cheapest Internet café where he can craft his online resume, and send it to several openings,” she added.

Founded in 1998, JobsDB is considered the largest recruitment portal in the Asia-Pacific region with network coverage spanning Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the US.

Over the years, JobsDB has built one of the largest and most comprehensive databases in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm boasts of a database of 14.6 million job-seekers, and over 220,000 corporate clients.

In the Philippines, their more than 10,000 client-companies can access their database of 1.5 million resumes said Ms. Viray.

“The advantages of posting online are cost, speed, and convenience. Our job postings cost only a fraction of a regular job advertisement on the printed page. Human Resource managers receive resumes straight in their inbox, and do not have to waste time going through a pile of envelopes,” Ms. Viray said.

“Our ads are also posted 24/7, and can be accessed any time by the hiring company from any part of the world as long as there is Internet connection. We also have a longer posting period of 30 days compared to the one day in a print ad. Our job ads are also easily edited if the hiring company wants to make changes on the text or content.”

Ms. Viray said among the companies that post job openings on JobsDB are: Accenture, Bank of the Philippine Islands, IBM Global Process Services, Miriam College, National Bookstore, PHINMA Property Holdings, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), PSBank, and The British Council Phils., among others.

“Our job openings cut across all levels, from freelance/part-time to entry level, supervisory, and managerial. We have manpower agencies posting their ads with us for job-seekers who want to work overseas,” Ms. Viray said.

Last year, JobsDB upgraded its Recruitment Management System to improve the job search experience for both the employer and job-seekers.

“We pioneered this industry more than 10 years ago, and are always studying ways and means to improve our services in order to meet the growing and evolving needs of our job-seekers and hiring companies,” Ms. Viray said.

The JobsDB web site allows instant display of up to 100 resumes as well as attachments, without downloading. Users are able to import resumes and view databases in various folders, and display formats.

The web site also features maps to allow job-seekers to check the most convenient job openings for them in terms of location.

“We also mount job fairs either as a company or in partnership with other schools, and the private sector, running approximately four job fairs each month. Again, we pioneered the first online job fair in the country,” Ms. Viray said.

Smaller players

The growing popularity of job web sites from abroad prompted local groups to set up their own employment portals. There is set up in 2006 by Martin Gamboa, and owned and operated by Myria Magbanua of online Human Resources solutions company Two-Way Link Job Solutions.

“At, we recognize different recruitment methodologies and strive to develop tools/strategies to provide solutions for human resources. As part of our vision to continually challenge our business activities, we engage in services which tap with the current tools/systems in the recruitment industry,” the company said in its web site.

Among its services are online advertising, job posting, job fair organizing, and project outsourcing.

There is also, an online recruitment site which has been operated by Web Philippines, Inc. since 1996. The web site aims to provide global Filipinos with “an accessible venue for limitless career opportunities, for corporate organizations to receive time-saving and cost-effective online recruitment solutions, and to support government initiatives for improving the employment situation in the country.

“Now empowered with a roster of highly competitive services and a better design, is set to fulfill its role of being the job-seeker’s ‘Complete Online Career Resource,’” the company said in its web site.

Another local job web site is, which offers “simple yet classical professional [web] design which allows easy navigation from one page to the next.”

“Finding a job online is tricky and time-consuming. One has to go through the tedious process before applying for a job online. Since online application and recruitment should not be more demanding and long-winded than in-person application, OhmyJob offers time-saving application and hiring procedures,” it said on its web site.

Government web site

Recognizing the importance of the Internet as a job search tool, the Labor Department too has set up a job web site —, the official government site for Philippine jobs.

The web site is an automated job and applicant matching system, which aims to fast-track job-seekers’ searches and employers’ searches for manpower. Job-seekers can submit their resumes, search for job opportunities, and information on vacancies and corresponding contact information of employers. The government offers free access to the Internet in the department’s Public Employment Service Offices (PESO) nationwide.

For employers, the web site allows them to post job openings for free, search job applicants, and get a list of qualified applicants with their corresponding contact information.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz noted that job vacancies posted in the Phil-Jobnet system had topped the 60,000 mark as of Feb. 14.

“There are 62,156 job vacancies posted and over 7,000 skills-for-hire of all types in the Phil-Jobnet as of Feb. 14, and these boost the chance of job-seekers, together with graduating college students, to land employment this summer,” the Labor Secretary said.

She credited the increase in jobs posted in the system to the country’s employers who, because of the buoyant economy, may now have the need for more workers.

She also attributed the increase to the department’s aggressive labor market information drive, particularly on the efficacy of the Phil-Jobnet as a job-worker matching mechanism.

In a report to Ms. Dimapilis-Baldoz, Director Maria Criselda R. Sy of the Labor Department’s Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) said that local opportunities for skilled workers continue to comprise the majority of vacancies posted in the Phil-Jobnet system, while the overseas job opportunities comprise the minority.

The bureau chief said that for the period Feb. 7 to 14, 17 of the top 20 “hot jobs” in the Phil-Jobnet are local while the rest are foreign ones.

Of the “hot jobs”, most are for the position of machinist (with 10,010 vacancies); followed by accounting clerk (3,138); customer service assistant (3,004); welder (1,060); electrical machine operator (1,000); pharmacist (605); call center agent (510); forklift operator (404); service crew (230); human resource development clerk (223); production machine operator (218); salesman (216); sales clerk (212); janitor (202); human resource development assistant (202); production worker/ factory worker (200); production planner (200); die-cut operator (200); merchandiser (150); delivery driver (120); mechanical engineer (117); and data encoder (102).

For overseas, the “hot jobs” are for nurses (200 vacancies), mechanical engineers (117), and domestic helpers (350).

Ms. Dimapilis-Baldoz sees a brighter employment situation in the country in 2011 as the economy is expected to remain bullish and capable of achieving the targeted 1.1 million additional jobs for workers this year.

The Labor Department has released its latest labor market study called “Project JobsFit: DOLE 2020 Vision” which highlights the in-demand and hard-to-fill occupations of key industries that are projected to be the main sources of employment growth in the country for the next 10 years.

The study points out that most jobs will be generated by the following sectors: agribusiness; cyber-services; health and wellness; hotel, restaurant and tourism; mining; construction; banking and finance; manufacturing; ownership dwellings and real estate; transport and logistics; and wholesale and retail trade.

“[Having more jobs] would strongly depend on private sector initiatives, particularly those identified as growth drivers, and a stable environment that allows the private sector to expand business, generate decent jobs, and transform the economy from being predominantly agricultural to becoming agro-industrialized, one that promotes investments in education, health, shelter, and other basic needs,” the Labor chief said. –JEFFREY O. VALISNO, Sub-Editor, Businessworld

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