Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A college degree and no job

The always insightful blog at Voices From El Salvador has a recent post about unemployment in El Salvador. The post describes some recent news articles where business complains that there are not enough qualified workers in El Salvador to fill their positions:

[Marco Penado of Manpower El Salvador] says students are not graduating with the skills and experience that human resource managers are looking for, claiming that university students are more interested in the humanities rather than engineering or other technical skills. He also believes that too few Salvadorans speak English, and that in a globalized world defined by trade agreements, corporations that operate in El Salvador require employees that speak English.
There are plenty of people looking for work, but there is a mismatch between their skills and the skills employers are looking for. Employers want universities to redesign their curriculum to line up more closely with the needs of corporations. But as the Voices post points out:
The Salvadoran labor market is a little more complex than these articles suggest. It would be nice if solving the country’s unemployment problem were as easy as redesigning university programs and teaching English. The reality is that most Salvadoran youth, especially from those from rural or poor urban communities, do not receive the academic foundation necessary to get into universities. Even if they did, most are unable to afford tuition for a 5-year university or the 3-year technical school programs.

And just because someone has an engineering degree from the university does not mean they can get a job. After reading the El Mundo article, we checked in with some of our Salvadoran friends who report that a lot of engineering students are getting teaching certificates because there are not a lot of jobs for graduates – even those who speak English – and teaching may be the only employment opportunity for them.
The majority of Salvadorans are nowhere close to having a college degree. And I have met many Salvadorans with degrees, but still unemployed or underemployed. Without significant improvement in the education system,  workers for skilled jobs will still be few. Without a skilled workforce, the incentive to locate a business in El Salvador is reduced.

8 comments:

371762e8-401c-11e0-92ad-000bcdcb2996 said...

If college graduates in the US can't get jobs, why on earth would anyone think college graduates in ES would get jobs? The problem is worldwide, not just ES.

Jon said...

It's the same in the U.S. and I'm one of those people. I've got 2 degrees (the latest of which is a teaching degree) and still can't find work in the U.S. Things are bad. Really bad.

Luis Aguilar said...

My parents use to say: "you must work to study" right now, I´m working in order to study, this is the reality in my country and societies in the post-modernism.

gringainelsalvador said...

First, the quoted 7% unemployment rate is malarky. I live here with my husband, and this number seems funky to me. But let's play along with that number, and pretend its real. OK, so you only have a 7% unemployment rate, but you have a poverty rate of...37.2%. What in heaven's name are you PAYING them for a WAGE??? $8-10 is 'good pay' for a labor or working class person. If you work in a maquila - a textile factory - you make $5-6 a day. There are not "set hours". I met a girl at the mall last year (2010) who told me she makes $6 a day, working from 9am-8pm - 11 hours! The $9 shirt I bought covered her wage and half of the other girls' who worked there - NICE deal for her boss. The majority of people in El Salvador are "Wage Slaves" or underemployed or unemployed. And people here keep wondering 'how can we deal with the gang problems?' Hmmm.

Griselda said...

another point to take in consideration is the fact that government and universities are far from work together, why am I saying this>???
Well, time changes so do careers, what is in demanded now is not in demanded tomorrow, check out the careers universities are offering, they have not change a bit their curriculum, goverment should use techonology to create a website, and post all studies, reserches, so potential univerities/colleges students get an idea of what they may invest in training, at the end of the day, is what tomorrow is in demand.
We should go more trades careers, like plumming, painting, but with license, it means creating those careers as regulated careers by the government.
Problem is, salvadorean market is like "I am looking for someone to paint my house, who also knows make cabinets, who also knows babysitting, who also knows landscaping, and most important speaks 3 languages!!!! C'MON!!!

that is the reality among what previous posters have said!

j said...

With all of the general business outsourcing going to India and China, I can't help but wonder why El Salvador isn't benefiting from this labor shift. Can someone tell me what an attractive salary is for a new college grad (business major)? I know what the minimum wage is, but what does it take to get an educated person to be dedicated and loyal?

j said...

I'm thinking about outsourcing and wondering why everyone thinks China and India are the right places to go for help. It usually boils down to cost, so can anyone tell me what salary would attract recent business grads? I know the minimmum wage is absurd, but what does it take (minimum) to get dedication and loyalty?

Monica said...

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