Industry demand for business IT graduates on the rise

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By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – Demand for business degree graduates with information technology skills is on the rise but supply of business-IT students remains low.

Technology and business school Asia Pacific College said it is ramping up its business management courses by integrating IT related courses, aimed at producing graduates with a mix of business management acumen and IT-related skills.

APC recently inked a deal with business analytics provider SAS Philippines to integrate its analytics modules to the school’s business courses, specifically for its business management, accounting, and tourism management curriculum.

JV Sayo, APC School of Accountancy and Business Program Director, said one of the major issues of vertical industries in the Philippines today are the lack of employable business graduates that are able to do computer-based statistics and analytical skills.

Industries such as finance, manufacturing, telecommunications, and even in the IT usually have to train new hires on various business-IT software.

Sayo noted that business analytics is becoming an important factor for keeping a business operational. Business analytics allows companies to use past data to forecast potential business growth and also to manage expectations. It is already being used in many vertical industries that have large volumes of data and customers.

“Businesses are changing their operations to remain competitive and they want to hire people who are also capable of keeping up with these changes. These people have to be competent not just in using a computer, but having the skill sets to analyze data and transform into usable information that a company needs,” Sayo said.

Alexander Escucha, Chinabank First Vice President, said banks, for instance, are expanding their business portfolio, which requires them to have proper accounting of their assets. Given the scope of their responsibilities, they would need graduates with strong background in business analytics.

“Banks are also evolving. New business opportunities require us to manage our assets more thoroughly and so we need people with IT competency, not just business sense,” Escucha said.

For his part, APC President Paulino Tan said tertiary educational institutions are starting to feel the need to partner with IT companies to prepare graduates for the eventual demand of various industries.

He said that in the past 10 years, colleges and universities have started to build new curriculums that would result in better equipped graduates.

Sonny Halili,SAS Philippines Regional Director for the Pacific, said he is seeing more of these partnerships happening in the Philippines, where schools are tying up with IT companies to integrate standards-based IT modules into their traditional courses.

In fact, SAS has already partnered with several campuses of the University of the Philippines for research related work or for integration into their curriculum.

“Industries in the Philippines want to be competitive in the global market and so they need people with equivalent, if not better, skills. We’ll see more schools working closely with the industry to feed the industry’s need for better performing employees,” Halili said.

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