Education is generally considered a bridge to a bright future, especially in a developing country like Cambodia. These days, however, paper qualifications are not simply enough.
More companies now require job candidates to possess work experience in addition to their degrees.
Seng Sophorn,who has a degree in agriculture, says that a common jobcriterionis three to five years of prior work experience.
“Companies seem reluctant to give fresh graduates with little or no professional experience any opportunities,” she said.
“University students should consider applying for internships during their studies, otherwise they will face this problem when looking for jobs after graduation.”
According to Samen Sokha, deputy chiefat National Employment Agency, high caliber job positions that entail more job responsibilities do require applicants to possess strong education and professional qualifications. Moreover, many companies require candidates who can adapt easily to a work environment, as they do not have time to train every newcomer.
However, KhyKimcheng, a student at Royal University of Law and Economics, thinks otherwise.
“I’m afraid that working will take up too much time and affect my studies,” he said. “Education is important so I don’t think it’s wrong to spend all my time studying. I can worry about jobs later on.”
Nou Boren, a finance administrator at Youth for Peace, says that prior work experience is not always required during recruitment as it depends on the position.
“However, companies still give priority to candidates who haveprofessional experience or at least be involved in extra-curricular activities,” she said.
“Although education is important, youths should also volunteer, participate in social activities or get internships to expand their knowledge and experiences,” Boren advised.
In an increasingly competitive job market in Cambodia, youths are starting to realize that they need well-rounded portfolios. As a result, many students are requesting for their institutions toprovideinternship or job training opportunities.
As this is a relatively new concept in Cambodia, companies such as Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC) are not ready to offer internship programs to students because they lack time and resources.
Nevertheless, according to PhonNavuth, an analysis and planning manager, ICBC may offer such programs in the future as demand increases.