Good job

Good job

AFTER graduating from the University of Barcelona with a degree in special education three years ago, Miss Georgia Quiles, 25, began hunting for a job.

The only one she has held since then - 10 hours a week as a relief teacher.

Their job-hunting experiences

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    “There’s no work, and if you want to work, maybe you have to have three degrees and be very well prepared because there are no jobs.

    When I finished my degree in special needs teaching in 2010, I worked for two years but for only 10 hours a week in public schools as a relief teacher. Up to this year, I still hadn’t found another job.”

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    – Ms Georgia Quiles (left), 25, has a bachelor’s degree in primary and special education from the University of Barcelona, Spain, but could find only work as a relief teacher in her home country

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    “I was relieved when the boss hired me out of my internship. I have other friends whose bosses were interested in hiring them, but they weren’t into the company and didn’t really like what they were doing. It’s mostly due to luck and whether they’re interested.”

    – Ms Syahirah Nurdiyana, 19, has a diploma in digital media from Singapore Polytechnic and was hired by a digital magazine company four months before she graduated.

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    “Almost everyone gets a training contract. It wasn’t very difficult; most people got what they wanted. It seems like there are more jobs than law graduates.”

    – Ms Doreen Chia, 23, has a Bachelor of Law degree from Singapore Management University, and was offered a training contract with Harry Elias Partnership after an internship in December 2010 during her third year of law school.

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    “Every one (of my friends) found a job within six months. The main challenge of job hunting was finding a job that was a good fit. I wanted a balance between what interests me and putting my degree to good use.”

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    – Ms Lee Sue Ann (above), 23, graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science in Psychology and Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources from Singapore Management University. She was offered a management associate job with The Learning Lab enrichment centre two weeks after applying, and three months before she graduated.

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    “I don’t know if... they weren’t hiring, or that they hired only people they knew, but (my friend) assured me that at the video game store branch in Mayaguez (where I live), they just outright threw any resumes into the trash. Jobs exist in multiple sectors in Puerto Rico, but it’s hard for a kid to get them when adults need jobs as well. Older workers will usually know someone, or have experience in some other field that will help them land a job.”

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    – Mr Ian Rolon (above), 24, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Puerto Rico this December. Mr Rolon, who is working part-time as a student secretary in his university’s English department, will look for a job in the United States.

Graduate friends have had to settle for being shop assistants and theatre ushers. They are part of what has been dubbed "the Lost Generation" in ailing European economies and others struggling with rising rates of youth unemployment.

"There are no jobs," says Miss Quiles, referring to her home city of Barcelona in the north of Spain.

"When you finish your degree, it's the moment to start work and to begin your life, when you make plans for your future, but you don't have opportunities," she adds.

Earlier this year, she and her boyfriend decided to move to Singapore. As she is qualified to teach Spanish, she rang a Spanish-language school here and was offered a job before she left home.

Her boyfriend found a job as an architect within a month.

Her experience illustrates the opportunity divide that has opened up between young people in troubled economies like Spain, and their peers in places like Singapore where the vast majority of fresh graduates land full-time jobs with a decent pay within months of graduation, and some even before that.

Singapore Management University law graduate Doreen Chia, 23, received a job offer from law firm Harry Elias Partnership a year before graduation.

To her, that is the norm as "almost everyone gets a training contract" before they graduate, she says of her law faculty peers.

Others wait just a little longer. More than nine in 10 polytechnic and university graduates here who entered the job market last year snagged jobs within six months of graduation.

Singapore's jobless rate for youth aged 15 to 24 was 6.7 per cent last year - one of the lowest in the world, as Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin highlighted this week at a polytechnic graduation ceremony. Spain's is 53.1 per cent.

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