More students than ever are realizing that a university degree is crucial to having a bright future, and universities seem to be popping up all over the country to fill their demand. There are now over 110 private and public higher education institutions, according to students’ statistics reports in 2008-2009 from the Department of Higher Education.
According to the same report, of the 137,253 students who are studying in different universities around the country, 22,482 students are studying business, making it the most popular major in the country.
“Banks are the main financial institutions contributing to the development of the country’s economy [and banking’s] growth and standardization are encouraging to students who expect more job opportunities in the industry.” said Im Odom, a lecturer of Economic Science in the Royal University of Laws and Economics, explaining why such a large percentage of students choose business and banking-related majors.
Miss Som Kungkea, a senior in economics who will be graduating in a few months, said that “Similar to other students who study economics, I want to run my own business, and this subject helps me learn about many methods from investors and experiences that some companies have had to achieve success in doing business.”
Besides expecting the job opportunities in the free market, some students decide to study in this field because they feel it is best suited to their skills.
Hak Srey Leakna, a second-year student at Economics and Finance Institute said “I like to study accounting because I think I have talent in mathematics; moreover, this subject is interesting and has many students which push me to enhance my critical thinking.”
The choice of so many students to pursue a business degree has created a situation in which there are too many applicants for too few jobs in the financial field. Some of the students are able to find jobs in banks or other businesses; however, an increasing number of the students find themselves unemployed and must find a job that is not related to their major.
“When the supply side is higher than demand, or when there is no equilibrium in the market supply, it will cause a surplus or excess supply.” Hay Sovuthea, an economics lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication, explained as the cause of this unemployment.
However, the problem of unemployment exists not only in Cambodia, but also in other countries such as China and France. “Even some famous international universities still cannot guarantee to find good job for their students. Therefore, to find a good job is really based on a student’s abilities” said lecturer Im Odom.
Sok Eng, a year-three student at the University of Cambodia, considered business but realized that there were too many students studying it already and decided to pursue a career in law. “I like this major. Since there are many students studying business, I didn’t think I could get the best job for my future,” he said.
“Moreover, the job market in business seems to be unstable due to a lack of investments. Even if we want to have our own business, we will face with high risk,” he said.
In contrast, Ra Sokunthea, a second-year accounting student of Vanda Institute claimed that “I’m not worried about being unemployed because studying this subject gives me a lot of job opportunities in many different institutions.”
“Although all institutions need accountants, there will not be enough jobs as the number of accounting graduates will increase noticeably in the coming years.” explained Lecturer Hay Sovuthea. “The government should increase the demand for these students by improving investment laws to attract private investments,” he advised.