Ruby Absuelo

Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Psychology and Social Science


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Dr Peter Hancock


Limited economic opportunity for many Filipinos has created substantial emigration of the country’s educated work force. The economic opportunities in the United States have attracted Philippine immigrants seeking employment opportunities. Thus, the U.S. now has a substantial foreign-born Filipino population. Although the majority of Philippine immigrants to the U.S. possess bachelor’s degrees or advanced degrees (Allard & Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011; Camarota, 2012; Commission on Filipinos Overseas, 2012), many are underemployed or work in fields relatively unrelated to their education and experience.

This thesis examines Philippine college and university graduates’ social networks, educational attainment, degree field, English language proficiency, immigration status, age, and gender, factors which influence and determine Philippine graduates’ employability in the U.S. labour market. The Triangulation Mixed Methods Design also known as the Concurrent Triangulation Design was employed to effectively measure the complex phenomenon of Philippine graduates’ employability by integrating quantitative and qualitative data sets. The null hypotheses for this thesis were rejected exclusive of age and gender differences. Data revealed employability was enhanced when Philippine graduates networked with Weak Ties during initial employment and continued to be advantageous for being adequately employed (i.e. resulted in lower underemployment). However, lower employability and underemployment negatively affected graduates with a bachelor’s degree (particularly a business-related degree), those who were less proficient in English, and those who were Green Card holders. The factors that were influential in the employability of Philippine graduates coincided with the labour market demands of the American employers sampled in this study. The thesis found that the current status of Philippine graduates has improved substantially with a higher percentage of the respondents obtaining jobs commensurate with their educational qualifications as opposed to their initial employment.

Philippine graduates with medical technology degrees were particularly successful at obtaining jobs commensurate with their educational qualifications despite relatively few holding advanced degree, but on average this group had resided in the U.S. the longest. Graduates with business-related degrees continued to lag behind those in other degree fields and experienced lower employability and higher underemployment. Despite their initial employment disadvantage, these degree holders were less likely to pursue continuing education or receive additional U.S. school/educational credits. The findings of this thesis provide insight into the employability of Philippine graduates. Because of the sampling restrictions, the findings cannot be extrapolated beyond the scope of this research. These results should only be treated as indicative within the context of this research. However, they provide useful insights for policy-makers, stakeholders and academics in the Philippines.

LCSH Subject Headings

Edith Cowan University - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science - Dissertations.

College graduates, Foreign – Employment - United States.

College graduates - Philippines.

Filipinos - Employment - United States.



Paper Location