According to a recent study conducted by MRI Worldwide, the worldÕs biggest search company, about 79% of companies in the Philippines have plans to maintain or increase current staffing levels in the next six months.

This ought to be good news for the struggling workforce, which is currently suffering from the combined difficulties of a struggling local economy, and the international backlash caused by the September 11 terrorist bombings in New York. But hereÕs a caveat: this good news is only applicable to mid-to-upper level managers, high-level executives, professionals, sales and marketing people, and technical workers. These are the workers that forty percent of the companies surveyed said they would be interested in hiring between now and May 2003.

In an Inquirer interview, Heriberto Santos, head of MRI Worldwide in the Philippines was quoted as saying, ÒThese figures certainly donÕt indicate a hiring boom, but they are a clear sign that the job market for the professional and managerial segment of the workforce is in healthy shape.Ó He goes on to say that, ÒCompanies wanting to maintain or increase current staffing levels are on the lookout for quality candidates. There is still demand for talented and experienced people who give companies the competitive edge.Ó

Given the level of competition in the job-hunting arena and the kind of demands hiring companies are making, what can you do to keep up with the times? If youÕre a new grad, donÕt fall apart. Often, while the best and most widely sought out opportunities seem out of your grasp, the best way to respond is to simply put patience to work. This may mean waiting it out with a non-challenging, non-appealing current job, settling for a small position in a small company with small pay, or simply gaining work experience in a line of work that may just slightly be off your career mark.

If this strikes you as shaky advice, think again. The bottomline is to bide your time and make the most of a situation when opportunities donÕt seem to fit. In this case, the most important thing is that you gain enough experience and know-how that will let you attain a certain level of experience and professionalism that will open you to bigger opportunities and other areas of preferences.

If youÕre a high-in-demand professional, now may be the right time to retrieve that shelved plan to crossover to a better place, shift into your desired career, or move on to greater heights. The important thing is that, whether you are a neophyte or a high-level professional, how you play the game depends on how sensitive you are to industry trends and forecasts, and using your skills to make the most out of any situation thrown your way.

By Lolita Villa