'Engineering grads shouldn't settle for BPOs'

by Fidea Encarnacion, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 23 2014 11:57 AM | Updated as of Mar 25 2014 12:56 AM

Noted Silicon Valley visionary Dado Banatao said that engineering courses offered in the Philippines must be realigned to produce globally competitive graduates who can contribute to the growing S&T industry. Photo by Fidea Encarnacion, ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA – A Silicon Valley visionary said that engineering graduates deserve to get work fit for what they studied for, instead of settling with easier-to-get jobs with business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) chairman and managing director of Tallwood Venture Capital Diosdado “Dado” P. Banatao said there is an evident lack of available jobs fit for engineering graduates in the country.

"The purpose of universities that have engineering curriculum or programs is to generate enough qualified engineers to practice. Now, [with] the case of the BPO, it is because there are not enough jobs in engineering. Not enough jobs, and so it is a waste of time and money for students who labored for 5 years."

"[They course to] easy-to-get jobs, and that is, I would say, that is horrible. That should not happen. Because engineering is an overkill for BPO."

Taking example from tech giants in Silicon Valley, Banatao said that engineers are needed to make a company successful.

"Imagine a Microsoft that's only Bill Gates? No such thing. It's all those thousands of engineers that got into the company eventually that made all of these companies, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Intel, all kinds. You have to have the workforce. "

Regardless of what kind of track it is, he emphasized that engineering graduates make a big part, and should be highly regarded in the industry.

"At the end of the day, it's the engineers who did it. So, we are lacking here. We need to really put in excellence in our training, and then we need to multiply the numbers if we want to catch up."

There currently are efforts being made by the government in boosting and opening job opportunities for graduates.

However, he said that having the need to realign the engineering curriculum also poses a big disadvantage to Filipino students.

"We are behind, unfortunately, relative to the developed countries, and so that is a huge disadvantage."

He said that efforts are there, but the manner of how it will be implemented and grabbed by those affected is what's crucial.

"When PhilDev finally came out with an approach to helping this eco-system of innovation and entrepreneurship, we proposed education programs first to have that base, that foundation of experts ---because it's needed."

Banatao is a noted visionary of the Silicon Valley and is highly regarded for contributing to the semiconductor technology industries.