Following the signing of a MoU with the Francophone University Agency (AUF) in December 2016, the EuroCham Cambodia Human Resources Committee (CHRC) has organised a series of career talks to bring together companies and students within education institutions in a small sectorial group to facilitate dialogue about career prospects.
This is the first step towards implementation of the EuroCham CHRC and AUF mutual commitment to strengthen cooperation between the private and academic sector to: give students an opportunity to gain better awareness of the needs of the private sector, share employers’ vision of career development paths and apprenticeship opportunities within certain sectors.
The first event, held at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, was intended to highlight opportunities in the labour market and facilitate professional integration for students at the end of their course. The event brought together over 50 students with representatives from Total, Archetype Group, Smart, Dara Hotels, Thalias, AAA Cambodia.
Stakeholders spoke highly of the event and were invited by EuroCham CHRC to provide insights on careers in construction, new technologies and engineering at the next event, held on 14 June at the Technology Institute of Cambodia.
During the opening remarks of this latest career talk event, the Chairman of Eurocham CHRC, Djamel El Akra noted that members often report that the education system does not necessarily provide graduates with the skills that employers need, but that the private sector could commit to finding solutions to fill this skills gap.
“Businesses need to be prepared to invest in their employees in order to improve their productivity as a matter of life and death in some sectors,” El Akra said. “Despite the perceived ‘skills gap’ within the country, there are multiple success stories of companies who have taken measures to provide training and ensure higher levels of employee retention and have in turn been rewarded with greater levels of productivity, such as Total, Smart and Archetype.”
“Developing career development plans is critical for a company,” said Piseth Teng, HR Manager at Total Cambodia. “Before applying for a job, applicants are required to list their reasons for wishing to join a company, their expectations and their current skills,” he continued. “These questions are salient throughout an employee’s career, therefore the expression of mobility aspirations is important.”
Multi-disciplinary construction consultancy Archetype Group offers a wide range of career opportunities, from architecture to engineering and Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP). “Making a well organised HR structure important,” said Sokthida Sim, HR officer for the Group.
“Companies consider several criteria to recruit applicants,” said Khieu Sambo, HR Director at Smart. “Functional knowledge is important, but leadership, experience, level of commitment, the ability to learn, the adherence to values and styles of the company is also of importance.” He continued, “Smart employees have to commit to a code of ethics, and be able to provide honest customer service without taking any shortcuts.”
“Technologies are evolving alongside the workplace,” Susanna Coghlan, Managing Director of AAA Cambodia pointed out. The ascent of Artificial Intelligence able to assume the basic functions of Human Resources has made for an unpredictable future for HR professionals who often cannot foresee which jobs will be made obsolete and which will survive. ” A career implies lifelong learning; soft-skills can distinguish us from pure knowledge machines – in the workplace staff have to be willing to learn from each other, and be humble.”
“As AUF and a significant number of our members expressed their will to continue the experience, we hope that those forums will be scheduled on a permanent basis in different education institution across Cambodia,” said El Akra. This illustrates the commitment from the private sector to strengthen and sustain the cooperation with the higher education institutions in Cambodia.
Events are scheduled to continue from November 2017 onwards.