MANILA – Here’s one reason why incoming college students should consider chemistry as a course: graduates of the program are in demand nowadays.
In an interview with ABS-CBNNews.com, a licensed chemist who graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) said he believes that more chemists are needed today because many industries in the country are growing.
The licensed chemist who requested for anonymity also said that contrary to popular belief, laboratory-based occupations are not the only career choices waiting for chemistry graduates.
There are a lot of viable fields that chemistry graduates can explore when they finish the course. They include oceanography, cement chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, food chemistry, research and development, the academe, and many others.
“Kung sa plant, kaunti lang naman ‘yung chemists na kailangan, mga 4 to 5. [Pero kung sa ibang chemistry-related professions, may demand] kasi nagbu-bloom ‘yung industry natin ngayon; ang daming products na ginagawa. Halos lahat ng industry ay may chemistry in action so kailangan talaga ng chemists. [The profession is very] diverse,” he said.
The chemist interviewed by ABS-CBNNews.com specializes in cement production in a popular company. He revealed that more often than not, prominent companies only hire those who possess professional license.
However, he said that there are still job opportunities for unlicensed chemists. As a matter of fact, even before he obtained his license this year, he was employed by a small company that focuses on cement manufacturing.
“Pagka-graduate ko, meron naman tayong skills. Alam natin ‘yung chemistry principles and laboratory techniques. Ang kailangan lang naman sa work ay mag-undergo kami ng training. Kapag na-master mo na sa procedure nila, madali lang.”
Despite being employed in the company only recently, he now enjoys a competitive salary rate and other privileges such as monetary incentives, food subsidies and health insurance which he can extend to his family members.
Because the plant where he works is located in a nearby province, the company also provides free board and lodging, regular meals and transportation to its employees.
“‘Yung pagiging chemist naman, it pays a lot. [And] after nakapag-establish ka na ng good name, tapos naka-acquire ka na ng skills and experience, mas tataas pa [ang salary],” he said.
Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) President Fabian M. Dayrit confirmed that there is a demand for chemists nowadays because chemistry-related industries are growing.
“[Chemistry-related industries] are improving. In fact I was talking to the President of SPIK (Samahan sa Pilipinas ng mga Industriyang Kimika) and they’ve been tracking the growth of the chemistry industry for the past three to four years. It’s on the upswing.”
ICP is a private organization of chemists which is concerned with the professional practice of chemistry, its legal aspects, and accreditation.
Prior to becoming ICP President, Dayrit obtained his degree in Chemistry from Ateneo de Manila University. He then took his masters and doctorate degree at Princeton University in the United States, and post-doctorate degree from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Dayrit also served as the Dean of Ateneo’s School of Science and Engineering.
Dayrit said that aside from the usual industries, chemists can also consider emerging but thriving industries at present. These include petro chemistry, herbal medicines, agriculture, cosmetics, fragrance, wellness industry and even entrepreneurship.
“The Philippines still needs chemists. Ang training kasi ng chemists ay nasa gitna ng physics and biology. So chemistry graduates are very trainable. Our graduates can do basic chemistry, they can work with materials, they also have training with electronics and then some work in chemistry industries.”
The ICP President emphasized that chemists actually do well in many careers because chemistry in general is a wide-encompassing field of study and many chemists are trained well.
“If you are knowledgeable about chemistry, there are actually a lot of career opportunities waiting for you. And it is a practical choice [for a field of study],” he said.
According to Dayrit, a clear indication of the booming chemistry industry is the growing number of graduates from various schools.
“Actually sa Ateneo, just to give you an example, 10-15 years ago, malaki na ang graduating batch na 10-15 BS Chemistry [graduates]. Ngayon, we have 30-40 [graduates].
Dayrit added that many job opportunities await fresh graduates of chemistry courses as various companies actively recruit. Moreover, there is less competition among chemistry graduates in terms of employment since relatively few schools offer chemistry-related programs.