NEARLY 96 percent of Cambodian employers require some form of higher education when hiring professional staff, with 72 percent requiring a bachelor's or master's degree, according to a new survey by the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA).
But more than half of the 220 employers surveyed said it was difficult to find professional staff with good analytical and decision-making skills.
"Only 13 percent of employers believe that graduates have all or most of the skills they need for work," CAMFEBA said in a statement.
Var Sim Samrith, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Labor, said the ministry needs time to improve educational and job training sectors.
"It is very important for the ministry and other institutions, as well as related personnel, to balance the supply of skilled workers in Cambodia's labor market," said Var Sim Samrith.
Yim Meng Chhorn, a human resource analyst with HR Inc Cambodia, said the lack of skilled workers has less to do with specific degrees than that the skills they do possess do not correspond to market demands.
"More and more students are studying finance, but they ignore technical and agricultural skills," said Yim Meng Chhorn.
"New employees normally need to adapt to their workplace because the quality of exams is low, students are lazy at school and the curriculum needs to be updated," he said.
About 33 percent of university and vocational training students make their own decision on their field of study, based on perceptions of those skills in the Cambodian labour market, the survey noted.
Chan Sok Khieng, rector of Norton University in Phnom Penh, said between 1,200 and 1,500 students each year earn bachelor's and master's degrees at his university.
"More than 90 percent of new graduates from Norton University can find a job because we are providing them with the skills that match market needs," he said.
Chan Sok Khieng said graduates must possess more than the sufficient skill to do the jobs they are hired to perform. They also need to have a proper perspective on the workplace itself.
"Many young people don't understand what it means to be a part of a working team in an office environment," he said.