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PESO Help Desks aid students search for jobs

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in Navotas City conducts an in-house job fair. (Photo Courtesy: Navotas PESO) 

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that over 2.4 million jobseekers nationwide were hired in 2023 with the assistance from Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs). This represents a 91 percent placement rate across the country, and a 6 percent increase from 2022. 

PESOs are administered by local government units. Selected colleges and universities work with PESOs in helping match students and graduates to jobs. 

As community-based employment centers, PESOs aim to efficiently connect local jobseekers with suitable opportunities. Services include counseling, skills training referrals, job matching and recruitment assistance.

The offices work closely with DOLE's regional and central offices to constitute a coordinated national employment network. DOLE provides technical supervision and links PESOs to potential employers. The more than 2.4 million hires facilitated by PESOs in 2023 highlights the success of this collaboration in delivering on-the-ground labor market services. The placements spanned various industries and regions.

For employers, PESOs enable access to a wide pool of vetted candidates. This allows companies to fill vacancies faster while saving on recruitment costs.

For student job hunters, on the other hand, job hunting can be a frustrating endeavor to embark on. The combination of uncertainty, anxiety, competition, and financial pressures that come with the process can create a stressful experience, especially for first time job seekers. 

After finishing their studies, most students find themselves stuck on questions like “what’s next?” or “what job suits me best?,” which can weigh heavily on their career trajectory. 

Job-skills mismatch, in particular, is also a persistent issue in the aspect of looking for employment opportunities. This growing phenomenon is widening the gap between the individual’s professional qualifications and the available positions in the labor market. 

As a result, the lack of job opportunities that are aligned with the skills of the existing workforce ultimately leads to dissatisfaction and poor working conditions that can negatively affect the overall workplace productivity at both personal and professional level. 

On a similar note, job mismatch is a significant contributing factor to the economic landscape of the country based on how it influences the rate of employment and unemployment. 

How can we make the employment situation better? 

In his 2024 budget message, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. underscored the importance of investing in programs that will specifically enhance the qualifications of the Filipino workforce to meet the industry-specific demands. 

“By implementing targeted programs and initiatives, we can bridge the gap between job requirements and workers’ skills by equipping them with the necessary expertise to thrive in evolving industries,” said the President. 

This initiative anchors retraining, reskilling, and retooling programs for the potential workforce. Among these are the Supporting Innovation in the Philippine Technical and Vocational Education and Training System (SIPTVETS) and the “Tulong Trabaho Scholarship” under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) that both seek to facilitate skills enhancement to keep pace with the globally competitive labor market. 

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Based on the latest labor force survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the unemployment rate in the country decreased from 4.3 percent in December 2022 to 3.1 percent in December 2023. 

The employment rate meanwhile rose to 95.3 percent in March 2023 from 94.2 percent in the same period in 2022. 

These numbers strongly indicate that the Filipino workforce continues to gain access to various job opportunities that are geared towards the industry they are interested in. 

What else can be done to open more doors for job seekers? 

In Navotas City, the local government is currently working on the establishment of PESO Help Desks among select schools in the city to assist students in the elaborate job hunting process. 

Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco earlier signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Navotas, Navotas Polytechnic College (NPC), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-CAMANAVA to make this possible.

Mayor John Rey Tiangco (2R) signs an agreement with SDO Navotas City Superintendent Dr. Meliton Zurbano (1R), NPC President Dr. Joel Chavez (2L), and DOLE-CAMANAVA Supervising Labor and Employment Officer Mr. Rey Sanglay (1L) for the establishment of PESO Help Desks. (Photo Courtesy: Navotas Public Information Office)

The main objective of the program is to strengthen the delivery of employment services among students and new graduates who are bound to join the workforce. 

“Through the PESO Desks, Navoteño youth will be more guided, prepared, and equipped for the career they wish to pursue," said Tiangco. 

"But more than being career-ready, we hope young Navoteños will develop discipline, critical and creative thinking, emotional stability, adaptability, and other skills and values that will help become successful in life," he added.

The help desks will be made available to all senior high schools and NPC as the only local government tertiary educational institution in the city. 

The primary services of the help desk include: 

  1. Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) - a DOLE-initiated employment-bridging program that aims to provide temporary work opportunities to students intending to earn experience and money during their summer vacation. 
  2. Job Market Information - this assistance will help students make informed decisions about a certain occupation or industry they are interested in. It will also allow them to carefully carve out their career path by having a deeper understanding of the industry needs, skills demands, and training requirements, among others. 
  3. Referral and Placement - the primary goal of PESO is to bring employment opportunities closer to the people. By making referrals, many job seekers will be directed to vacancies that match their qualifications leading to successful placement. 
  4. Career Guidance and Employment Coaching - to further address job-skills mismatch, this type of training will enable them to plan their future careers based on key information about in-demand jobs. This will likewise help them enhance their employability skills. 
  5. Labor Education for Graduating Students (LEGS) - this aims to provide guidance to potential workers regarding the essential dynamics in the workplace including ethics, values, as well as employees’ and employers’ rights. 

PESO are designed to serve as a reliable support system throughout the job search process. The assistance it provides can be incredibly beneficial in building a competitive advantage in today’s job market landscape.

The establishment of help desks mark a significant step in elevating the competency and industry of the Filipino workforce as pillars of economic growth and country’s progress as a whole.

By tapping PESOs, student jobseekers benefit from local placement services tailored to community needs. The offices help both first-time job hunters and those transitioning between jobs. (JMP/PIA-NCR) 

About the Author

Janna Marie Pineda

Information Officer


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