Career optimism, defined as the disposition to expect the best possible outcome of one’s future career development, was found to be high among Filipino Generation-Z college students, according to a survey presented at a webinar on Friday (Aug. 20) by the Far Eastern University Public Policy Center (FEU-PPC).
“From the [freshmen in] the 2020 cohort, many respondents seem to be optimistic about their careers despite the ongoing pandemic,” said Dr. Ma. Christina F. Epetia, assistant professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics and author of the policy paper on Gen-Z’s career optimism. “Around 52.6% of males and 66.6% of females said they strongly agree on being eager to pursue career goals.”
Conducted in various schools and universities nationwide from 2014 to 2020, the College Experience Survey also focused on the factors that influence career optimism in Gen-Z college students, with the biggest factor being family and friends (70-73%). The next factor was school environment at 39% for both male and female respondents.
As for awareness and understanding of the labor market, Ms. Epetia reported that the results showed room for improvement: “Students are largely aware [of it], but more than 20% of female respondents strongly agree or agree to not understanding job market trends, with males even higher at around 30%.”
Recommendations based on the findings included improving the government’s reach of labor market information through academe and industry linkages and strengthening schools’ career and counseling services in light of current graduates being products of remote learning.
“The pandemic has further underscored the importance of career guidance services as many have lost their jobs and require assistance in identifying career options in the labor market, which has changed profoundly,” said Dr. Marivic V. Iriberri, director of student and development services at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), citing the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s 2021 study on career readiness in the pandemic.
CHED’s ongoing joint initiatives with government agencies like the Departments of Transportation, Tourism, and Energy intend to centralize education and training in these areas.
Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay said that there will be continued improvements in the existing career guidance advocacy program that immerses parents and students in the realities of the labor market, as well as the distribution of career information pamphlets containing labor market information.
“Gen Z are digital natives, so they are suited to the labor market now. In fact, they are highly interactive and highly independent,” said Ms. Tutay, adding that they could thrive in the workforce given the proper guidance. — Bronte H. Lacsamana