Upskilling key to gov’t strategy to boost jobs

By: Jerome Aning - | February 10,2024 - 10:54 AM

Job seekers

Job seekers flock at Quezon City Hall for Labor Day Job Fair. INQUIRER PHOTO/ JAM STA ROSA

The government is working to improve employment by upskilling workers and enhancing job distribution, as announced by President Marcos’ Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC).

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma mentioned that recent data from the Philippine Statistical Authority’s Labor Force Survey show progress in increasing employability, developing skills, and creating more job opportunities.

“Our focus on sectors such as construction, transportation, logistics, and notably, the youth employment sector, has been central to our strategy for economic growth and job creation,” he added.

The jobs data showed that 50.52 million Filipinos aged 15 and older were employed as of December 2023, or 96.9 percent of the country’s labor force of 52.13 million workers.

The number meant that only 3.1 percent, or about 1.6 million workers, were unemployed in December.

According to tycoon Teresita Sy-Coson of the SM group of companies who leads the PSAC’s Jobs Sector Group, the government and its private sector partners will continue to work on boosting employment even with the good jobs situation.

Job quality up next

“We all know that there [are] employment challenges: underemployment and unemployment, although, unemployment today has [slowed to] 3.1 percent,” said Sy-Coson, chair of BDO Unibank, after meeting with the President last week.

One of their goals, Sy-Coson said, is to continuously hold weekly job fairs that will align the skills of Filipino workers to companies with available jobs.

The tycoon thanked the Department of Labor and Employment and its Public Employment Service Office for being cooperative with the private sector’s job fair program.

“We accelerated [the program] two months ago, more than 450 companies and over 5,000 jobs seekers have participated with about 18 percent of them being hired on the spot,” she said.

“For 2024, the job fairs for 41 weeks in 70 malls are already scheduled with the aim of multiplying the number of those hired. This is the job fair that we have, we have tested it and it has been successful so we’re going to continue and multiply,” she further stated.

300,000 new jobs

Laguesma said the Department of Trade and Industry has come out with “conservative” projection of 300,000 additional jobs in the first enterprises that have been set as a direct result of Mr. Marcos’ overseas trips.

Labor Undersecretary Carmela Torres said various industries have submitted their own road maps with projections concerning job generation.

In construction, the sector is projecting 7 million jobs to be generated until 2030, while the business process management, tourism and agriculture sectors project 2 million, 34 million and 2 million jobs, respectively until the end of Mr. Marcos’ term of office.

READ MORE: Jobs in the Philippines: Quantity over quality?

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