New graduates: finding work is tough without ‘connections’

The region is welcoming an influx of fresh graduates again this year, with over 2,000 graduating from bachelor degree programs since May.

However, some new graduates are reporting that it is challenging to find a job when companies regularly require over two years of experience in the field. This is particularly concerning when a fresh graduate may not have any connection to businesses in the industry.

For Michael Zapanta, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Architecture at a local university, most of the job vacancies in his field require three to seven years of experience.

“Getting a job in architecture is hard when I have no connection to any company,” he told the Times.

Although Zapanta says he believes there are enough jobs for recent graduates, “it’s just the outreach is unforgiving when you don’t have connections.”

Career Days are held at the city’s universities annually, showcasing opportunities for work. Generally, training workshops and mock interview sessions are held at the same time.

However, some graduates have complained that Career Days at their universities have not offered a range of job vacancies related to their bachelor programs.

“To be honest, I did not apply for any positions at Career Day because there was not much relating to my bachelor degree. They did offer a lot of variety within the tourism and business industry [though],” said Mavie Soriano, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Communication and Media.

“I think Career Days are not very effective and they are very limited for international students,” said a recent Bachelor of Business graduate, who asked not to be identified.

“I applied to a lot of companies and only two called back. […] When I asked some companies during Career Day which position would be recommended for a non-Chinese speaker, they recommended a position that is not related to business administration,” said Nadine Baiguen, another business graduate.

Meanwhile, Jacinta Ho, founder and managing director of JC Human Resources Consulting, said that finding positions for fresh graduates to aim at is challenging.

JC Human Resources Consulting has seen a 40% increase in job applications from new graduates, as compared to previous years.

“In the past few years, the majority of them have been able to engage in a new job within a month or two,” Ho told the Times.

“There are some who may have attained a very specialized degree, say psychology, or a degree in an area where Macau is lacking in available vacancies, who will find it challenging to find a position they desire,” she added.

Ho advised graduates to take whatever employers offer them in a bid to “learn new knowledge and gain valuable working experience from their first job.”

The human resources expert also said that there is still huge demand in the current labor market compared to last year, citing the opening of Grand Lisboa Palace and Lisboeta.

“[Although] they are hiring middle management to senior management positions at the moment, they will start recruiting for the other positions very soon,” she said.

Aside from this, Ho believes that there are also other new businesses being established, either directly or indirectly related to the opening of the Lisboa Palace and Lisboeta, which will require manpower.

Macau’s general unemployment rate stood at about 1.7% at the latest measure in June, according to official data. For the local resident component only, 2.4% were considered out of work.

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