What are the reasons for the gap in the creative industry?
Last September 19, I was invited to speak at a DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) event. I was asked on what I think about the creative industry and how is it going for the new graduates in the Philippines. Spoiler alert! Not so well. You can watch the video above or read on below to know my thoughts on why
is this so.
1 - Lack of skill
The first reason is, young graduates fresh out of school are not qualified. Young designers or people starting out in their career lack the skills to compete in the international market. In the Philippines there is a disconnect between what is being taught in school and what is actually needed or useful in their career. When I graduated, I didn't know much and most of the skills that were useful to me were things I learned along the way and not in school.
2 - Bad attitude
I don't know if this is only in the Philippines or around the world but millennials have this problem. They don't know how to present themselves, they don't know how to write a good application email, they are late on interviews and the young generation feels so entitled. One of the things I see is that they lack grit. They want the easy way out. As an employer grit is one of the things I am looking for. We want someone who is going to work hard, day in and day out.
3 - Creatives are undervalued
Sadly, in our society in the Philippines, creatives are undervalued. Most people expect creatives to provide free or low cost design solutions. What people don't understand is that creatives put in so much time, effort, training and skill for them to reach where they are right now. Maybe one of the reasons this is so, is because we creatives make it seem like its easy. But that is the whole point, it's our job to make something so complex seem like its easy to do.
4 - Talented creatives move out
Because creatives are undervalued, talented creatives see no point in staying. Most of them go where the opportunity is. And the result is that we are left with people who are not so good in design. Its not that Filipinos are not talented, its that talented Filipinos move out of the country. They call this "brain drain" and its one of the problems we are facing. But in my opinion if they are valued here then they would have no reason to leave.
5 - Few creative companies
Because there are only a few qualified creatives, most creative companies are hesitant to invest and enter into the Philippines.
So who should go first?
Should companies go in without so much talent?
Should the youth be ready despite no job opportunity?
6 years ago, I made the decision to hone my skills despite no job opportunity, look for opportunities abroad and bring back the work here. I believe that if we can close the gap between the academe and industry, and change the perspective of the society to the creatives then we can improve the lives and careers of young aspiring designers.