Saturday, September 28, 2013

Graduation and Job Hunting in my Philippines

October is just a few days away, and soon there would be another batch of college graduates ready and willing to join the workforce. There are a lot of job opportunities in the Philippines but the unemployment rate is still high. After spending thousands upon thousands of pesos, parents feel a false sense of relief that finally, their son/daughter would soon find a job and help out with the family finances. Not exactly. There are obstacles to face before they can land a good paying job, or simply put, just a job. 

Vacancies posted in newspapers and online ads can be disheartening for a new graduate. The long list of requirements are not applicable to one who is just starting out in the employment jungle. To cite the most common examples:

"Applicant should have at least 2 years experience in the field." Chances of a fresh graduate getting hired: 0%

"Not over 22 years old." Now, doing the math, the average age of a college graduate in the Philippines is 21. If the first qualification states "at least 2 years experience," that would mean that the applicant should have been done with his/her college education between the ages of 18-19. Chances of getting hired: 0%

"Willing to be trained." This simply means that companies may only pay the successful applicant a training fee. There will be no benefits and no security being hired as a regular employee

"Willing to work long hours." This is sugar-coating the "no overtime pay" policy of the company.

"Applicant should be good looking and have a pleasing personality." Duh?!

That's just the tip of the iceberg. When you feel that you have all those criteria stated above, you have to come face to face with the pre-employment document requirements:

Transcript of Records - A student may spend up to 500 pesos to get a copy of his school records. The wait time would be one to two weeks for this.

NSO Copy of Birth Certificate - Enduring the long, long, LONG lines at the National Statistics Office to get a copy of your birth certificate. This would cost Php 140.00 and would only be valid for 6 months. If you are not yet employed within 6 months, then you have to do this step all over again. There are private companies offering door to door delivery of your document for roughly twice the cost of the standard fees. Once you secure your copy, make sure to have at least 10 photocopies of it, since you will be asked for a copy of it when you apply for other pre-employment documents.

NBI Clearance - A certificate attesting to having a clean civil record, meaning no civil or criminal case has been filed against you. Again, the lines here are really long. It would take half a day to get your copy. If it so happens that you have a "hit" (which means someone with the same name as you has a criminal record), you'd have to be asked to return after 10 days. One good thing is that the National Bureau of Investigation has an online service wherein you can fill in your personal details and you'd be given a schedule to go to their satellite offices for biometrics and payment of fees. Just hope you don't get a "hit" or the process will still be the same. The legal fees for an NBI clearance is Php 140.00.

Photo by Justin Calderon (

Police Clearance - As if getting clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation is not enough, a Police Clearance certificate is another document requirement in applying for a job. Legal fees are supposed to be Php 40.00, however, there are other charges that you find out that you need to pay. The last time I got a Police Clearance Certificate, I had to pay close to Php 200, because they are now issuing a Police Clearance Identification Card, valid only for a year.

Community Tax Certificate (CTC) - This is commonly known as "cedula," which is issued in the baranggay (village) where you reside. The fees depend on the declared monthly salary. If you are unemployed, you will only have to pay a minimal fee. I am not sure how this is computed. Some may charge only one peso (for unemployed), while others have a minimum rate of Php 32.50. You must avail of a CTC before January 30th because you will have to pay a penalty for it. 

Baranggay Clearance - This is a simple typewritten certificate attesting to the fact that you are a resident in the area of your declared address in other forms of identification. Legal fees depend on the baranggay (village) office.

Routine Medical Exam Results - Applicants have to comply with a general medical exam - blood tests, chest x-ray, stool and urine exam, medical history and physical assessment. Some companies ask applicants to pay for the fee, others may pay for it, and still others may deduct the cost from the initial paycheck.  

SSS ID - This is your Social Security System ID. New members of the system will be required to submit a photo copy of their NSO Birth Certificate and two valid IDs (government issued IDs). You will be given an E-1 form containing your SSS number. Keep this piece of paper, as this will be proof that you are already a registered member. While you're there, you might as well apply for the permanent ID card. 

Tax Identification Number (TIN) - New entrants into the workforce may be required to apply for their own TIN in the Revenue District Office where their employer is registered. Other companies may do this step for their new hires. Remember, you will only be issued one number in your entire working life. Make sure to keep a copy of the application form. If however, you have been previously employed, you'd have to request to have  your records transferred to the Revenue District Office of your new employer.

PhilHealth ID - There is an online service where you can apply for your PhilHealth Identification Number/Card, therefore relieving the public of the long long LONG lines. The HR department of some companies also assist their new hires to have their documents submitted to the PhilHealth Office. You would need copies of your birth certificate and that of your declared dependents too. 

Pag-Ibig/HDMF ID - The Home Development Mutual Fund provides qualified members housing loans which they can pay off in different terms from 10-30 years. You will be provided with a Member Identification number, after you have personally applied for it or processed your application online.

There are also additional document requirements depending on your field of expertise. A few of them are listed below:

1. PRC license - This is an ID for professionals who have successfully passed the board exams.

2. Seaman's Book - A passport-like document issued to merchant marines or sea-based workers. You have to enroll and pass in a SOLAS training course before you can apply for a Seaman's book.

3. Health Clearance Certificate - An important requirement for applicants in the Food Industry business. This may be expensive because you'd have to subject yourself to clinical laboratory tests.

Going through all these may discourage a young graduate to go out and find work. Aside from the fact that they would need so much money to pay for the fees, they have to endure standing in line for hours, some going to the extent of camping outside the government office just to ensure that they would be the first in line the following day.

This not only speaks for our youth, it also speaks for the blue collar workers, the daily paid laborers. These people have no money to pay for clearances and the like. They need a job, they are physically fit to work but will not be able to unless they are able to present the pre-employment documents. The end result? They would remain unemployed or be content with menial jobs that don't pay much.

Unless we do something to cut down on the costs of applying for a job, we will continuously be presenting a huge obstacle to increase our workforce.

Isn't it time that we push for the National ID system?


  1. How frustrating!!!!!!!!! We had similar problems back home.. Every time I applied to a job I had to provide over 30 pages of documentation, including of course, a photograph of myself because they needed to see if I was presentable enough... Gosh, apparently nowadays you have to be a model to get a desk+computer job. !

  2. Jobs are tought to find everywhere.. but this goes way beyond the call of duty.

  3. Wow that is very intense! I think it would be easy to get discouraged in this situation. Jobs are hard to come by it seems no matter where you live.

  4. jobs are tough in our province as well

  5. Ah job hunting, especially in these bad climate condition is literally a nightmare. How many college students who finished their school sit their with the papers in their hands and can't find a good job...

  6. Wow, there is a lot of required documentation for getting a job in the Philippines! What a helpful article for beginning college students since they can start to prepare early so they aren't busy waiting in lines their entire first year after college. Perhaps this will inspire some to get internships or part-time jobs with companies they'd like to work for AFTER college that way they can have the requisite 2 years experience upon graduation.

  7. I never had a good luck during my job hunting days in the Philippines. I was a victim of "with pleasing personality" discrimination even though I can do the job.

  8. My goodness, those are a lot of requirements. No wonder the unemployment is high!

  9. I know how it feels finding a job in the philippines. However college graduate still has an advantage than those undergrad. Before if I see student so proud and snob spending their parents money but don't have any clue what's awaits with them by the time they finish college. all i can say good luck to all the fresh grad. may you land the job that you want and work hard for. great share!


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