Several experts in human resources said it is high time for companies and other businesses in Cambodia to change their recruitment strategies and hire more high school graduates and others who have yet to receive a college diploma.

These experts noted that the hiring practices of many companies here are heavily skewed towards the hiring of college graduates.

They were speaking at ‘Breakfast Talk: Millennials in the Workforce’, an event organised last week by the British Chamber of Commerce (Britcham).

Paula Nicolas, managing partner at HRINC (Cambodia), pointed out that while the workforce is expanding, the talent pool is shrinking.

A graph that accompanied her presentation showed that only 25 percent of Cambodians between the age of 15 and 44 are college graduates. The remaining 75 percent are either graduates of primary school, high school, or did not go to any school at all.

Reference: HRINC Consulting, Cambodia's Labor Market Dynamics and Launching the 15th Edition of the HRINC Cambodia Annual Compensation and Benefits Survey 2019-2020

People between the age of 15 and 44 comprise the majority of Cambodia’s workforce.

“Companies should start rethinking their recruitment strategies and start hiring outside the graduate pool for roles where a graduate degree is not necessary,” she stressed.

Ms Nicolas said future success is not dependent on a college degree.

“I have met so many leaders who dropped out of university and have become very successful. By restricting sourcing to very predefined requirements, we are missing those stars that for several valid reasons did not have the opportunity to complete a degree or go to university,” she pointed out.

According to her, Steve Jobs is a prime example of this. Mr Jobs, one of the co-founders of tech giant Apple who became one of the richest men in the world, dropped out of Reed College in Oregon during his teenage years.

“Steve Jobs is an example everyone knows. His life and how he decided to drop out of university is amazing. He got to start Apple and other successful companies,” she said.

“I don’t think they should stop hiring graduates. The point is that we should start thinking out of the box and start tapping other sourcing pools.”

Narath Chheav, HR director at Decathlon International, said he agreed with Ms Nicolas.

“I don’t say that a college degree is not important. But based on my experience, there are many people without college degrees who can do the same job, or even better, than their counterparts who are college graduates,” he pointed out.

“It doesn’t mean that if you have less education, you have less capability.”

Other speakers during the event included David Nutman, CEO of Prudential Cambodia, and Todd Smith, director at Ripple Effect Consulting Asia-Pacific.

This article appeared in the Khmer Times on July 29, 2019, page 12. Graphics above supplied by HRINC for further clarification for the reader.