ICT industry offers top career opportunities but talent pool not sufficient

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 Nov) – The information communications technology (ICT) industry offers highly competitive career opportunities but only a limited number will land jobs because the talent pool may not match with the most in-demand and hard-to-fill jobs, an official of an IT organization said.

Genny Marcial, executive director for external affairs and membership of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (ITBPAP) told participants of the Davao Investment Conference (iCON) last Friday that the country produces about 500,000 graduates annually but only 20 to 30 percent of them are open to seeking opportunities in the industry and only 10 percent of the applicants land ICT jobs.

Marcial said a change of perception about the employment opportunities in the industry must be encouraged for the industry in the Philippines to grow.

Talent sufficiency, she said, dictates the growth of the industry.

In Davao City, some 30,000 workers are employed in the ICT industry, the ITBPAP said.

Citing the ITBPAP, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that the most in-demand jobs in the industry are animator, back office processing/ accounting/ admin clerk, hardware technician, technical support, IT specialist, software developer, and customer service.

Among the hard-to-fill jobs are computer programmer/service developer, web developer in all platforms, web designer, graphics designer, animator, and technical support engineer.

Both the in-demand and hard-to-fill jobs require highly specialized skills or knowledge on hardware/ software servicing, according to JobsFit 2015, a comprehensive study conducted by the labor department on the labor market.

The report also found that applicants lack effective marketing and communications skills making it hard for them to land jobs in the industry.

Marcial added they partnered with the government to address the skill gaps through the Service Management Program (SMP), which started in 2014 and due to end this year.

The program was allocated P125 million budget,

One of the components of the program is to harness the teaching skills of the teachers, so that graduates will meet the skills requirement of the industry.

She said it has partnered with 17 universities and colleges across the country. In Davao City, the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) is the sole partner.

“We trained the teachers under the SMP so that even after the funding runs out, the program will be kept running in different schools through the efforts of the teachers,” she said.

She added they are also partners with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund the electronic SMPs, so that more prospective talents will be able to acquire the skills that are needed by the industry.

All resources are uploaded on the University of the Philippines’ (UP) open university website, Marcial said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)