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Chapter 1The Problem and Its ScopeIntroductionRationale of the Study
For most higher education students, employability on graduation and over the long term is a major priority. More and more higher education courses provide the means for students to develop their employability skills, to raise their own awareness of these skills and to increase their ability to articulate these skills (Gawthrope, 2004).
Year on year, thousands, if not millions, graduate in Philippine universities. The bulk of these graduates hold a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, as most schools offer it. More often than not, these graduates are unemployed over a long period of time or if employed, are underemployed. But as statistics show, Business-related jobs are more than enough for all the graduates. Most of these are hard-to-fill jobs. Now, some may contend that the concept of BA graduates being employed is dim-witted at all because they are bound to venture into business and be employers. But it is fitting to note that before starting your own business, it is essential that you have experienced for yourself what it is like to be employed and observe how an employer runs his business, especially noting how the complexities of the business are managed. It should also be noted that newly-offered courses, courses first offered about five (5) years back produce graduates who are not employable. Moreover, courses that have similar areas of study produce graduates who compete for similar job positions. For example, Graduates of BS BA- Marketing Management and AB LiaCom contend for marketing positions. Graduates of BS/AB Psychology, BS Industrial Engineering, and BSBAHRDM compete for Administration or Management or Human Resource positions.
The researchers then would like to find out if a course which is (1) offered by most schools in the Philippines, (2) newly offered, and (3) daunted by courses focusing on similar fields can produce graduates who are employable. Such a course is BSBA-HRDM (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Human Resource Development and Management).
Even before this study on the employability of graduates has been conceptualized by the researchers (it was the first graduate tracer study conceived in the College), years back, there have been similar studies conducted both in the Philippines and abroad. These are called tracer studies and graduate tracer studies interchangeably. The first tracer studies in the world and in the country are not known but it is undeniably true that there have been a lot of tracer studies already conducted by different organizations and institutions. Nonetheless, whats most recognized in the Philippines is the series of graduate tracer studies of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). CHED graduate tracer studies were conducted last 1999, in 2004, and in 2012, in line with their mandate to monitor the performance of programs and institutions of higher learning.
In 2010, the former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of San Jose-Recoletos, Dr. Teoddie B. Dumam-ag, also conducted a graduate tracer study on the employability of CAS graduates for the school year 2003 to 2004 and school year 2007 to 2008.In 2013, the University of San Jose-Recoletos also conducted an institution-wide graduate tracer study, which is expected to be completed in 2014. The university aims to gather data from the graduates of all the course offerings to be collected by the different colleges. The College of Commerce OIC for the Institutional Tracer Study and College Secretary Ms. Ma. Theresa V. Vito, after learning of the study on the employability of BSBA-HRDM graduates (this study) asked to make use of the data that will have been collected by the researchers.Theoretical Background In the study of Dumam-ag on the Employability of CAS Graduates of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (2010), he cited four theories, namely the Human Capital Theory by Becker, the Assignment Theory by Sattinger, the Heterogeneous Skills Theory by Green and McIntosh, and Job Competition Theory by Thurow. The Human Capital Theory states that individuals are compensated for the value of their marginal product, which in turn is determined by their human capital, rather than the characteristics of the job they occupy (Becker, 1975). Based on this theory, people undertake investment in their human capital if the net present value of future incremental earnings accumulating from the investment offset the direct and opportunity costs. This notion then explains why individuals expend effort to achieve in the world of work once they see that what they value most will be offered if the amount of effort needed to get it will be delivered by them.Workers earnings are determined by both the extent of human capital investment and job characteristics (required level of education and skills). This view is shared by two theories, namely the assignment theory (Sattinger, 1993) and the heterogeneous skill theory (Green and McIntosh, 2002). The theories differ in the interpretation of the relationship between under- and over- education (educational mismatch) and under- and over-utilization of skills. Based on the assignment theory, these notions are closely linked. Hence, workers report that their level of education is inappropriate for the job they occupy because of the poor match between the knowledge and the skills acquired during their school years and those needed to actually carry out their job. In light of this, workers whose level of education is higher than their job typically comment that their skills are not fully utilized. Thus, they are likely to be less productive than their colleagues with the same level of education who occupy jobs wherein their own level of educational attainment is suitable. Alternatively, the heterogeneous skills theory proposes that the link between education and skills mismatch is much weaker. The primary assumption is that, even among people who have the same level of education, there is significant variety in terms of skill endowments and ability. Hence, reasonably, it is possible to find workers who seem to be overeducated but because their level of skills and abilities are at the bottom of the range of people with similar qualifications, in terms of abilities and skills they match more closely those with the appropriate (lower) level of education for the job they occupy. The job competition theory of Thurow (1976) states that most cognitive job skills, general or specific, are required either formally or informally through on-the-job training after a worker finds an entry job and the associated promotion ladder. He motivates this supposition by arguing: Most job skills are best taught in conjunction with the job in question, since training and production are complementary goods.  On-the-job training from one worker to another
is simply the cheapest method of training. Thus, employers base their selection and hiring decision on the trainability of the job seekers, who are placed in a worker line. The most trainable workers will be selected for the most complex jobs, which need more training. The trainability of the worker is assessed by his background characteristics. In a very similar fashion to signal theory, Thurow states that formal education will be the critical indicator for the trainability. The acquired skills for their part may be useful for promotions to more complex positions inside or outside the firm. If this is the case, one can regard them as being general. Otherwise, they are job-specific. According to the competition theory, skill acquisition is clearly linked to the job and does not depend on the education of the worker. Nevertheless, since more educated job seekers are selected for the most complex jobs, it also predicts a complementary relation between formal education and post-school skill acquisition. However, this relation will be less strong in comparison with human capital theory. The model of Brunello and Medio (2001) is based on similar assumptions. They assume that skilled jobs can be filled by training an unskilled job. Although formal education skills are not productive, educated workers are preferred for their lower training cost. However, this advantage decays with long unemployment or overeducation. Institutional theories suggest that only job characteristics (required level of education) determine earnings (Thurow, 1975). The rationale for this is that, as a result of the problems employers encounter when attempting to quantify individual productivity, job characteristics are often used by firms to make inferences over workers productivity and hence, their wages. Thus, the formally required level of education for the job is frequently incorporated in wage scales. The figure that follows presents the theoretical-conceptual framework of this study.Related Literature The goal of education is to produce quality graduates. Vinluan (TUP Research Abstract, 1988-93) revealed the following: 51% of the employed respondents are regular employees in private firms; the absorption of the graduates varies. The OJT and the work attitude of the graduates surfaced as the major factors of their employment.Salvador (1995) found that interest and performance in the major subjects are significantly related with their employability (p.98). Estrabo (1996) claimed that graduates with high level work attitude and achievement motivation have the highest percentage of employment (p.90). Aberin (1994), on the other hand, averred that students services, laboratory facilities and the school attended significantly affect employability.Another study concluded that faculty competence is a major factor in employability. In another study, to determine employability, Cabancia (1992) used relevance of training with job hunting time as an indicator.