Jobs, jobs, jobs


People need work to achieve livelihood security and give their lives purpose. However, there are not enough jobs available, and in recent years the gap between ambition and reality in the labor market has become even wider.

Young people are most affected by unemployment; for them, finding work is particularly difficult. If they do find a job, they must often endure unfavorable working conditions.

For many people unemployment equals poverty and a lack of prospects. Let’s look at some highlights:

 Nine out of 10 jobs are provided by the private sector. In other words, government should treat the private sector nicely.

 Young people make up just 25 percent of the work force but 40 percent of the unemployed. It is essential that we look at entrepreneurship, incubators, and a “start-up” environment. But again, the private sector has to get involved and assist in the transition from unemployed to entrepreneur.

If every child is to receive at least a basic education, many more teachers will be required.

 Labor market policy is regarded as a tool that can solve many of the major problems of our modern age. But it can only work if it also reaches people without regular jobs. Here, the K to 12 program and appreticeship can assist in the transition in the “supply-chain” from student immersion to apprenticeship to employment. DepEd, DOLE, Tesda and enlightened companies have to make that possible.

As automation proceeds, many jobs will be lost. We have to come up with new ways of generating income or else our economies face disruptions. Education has to move up the value-chain.

Some experts fear that digitalization will wipe-out of many of jobs, while others are predicting a surge in employment. One thing is certain: digitalization will turn our working world on its head yet again and will likely bring about a transformation as radical as that which resulted from industrialization.

The most important difference is that machines are now beginning to think. Computers are now learning by themselves, which is why technology is going to replace all kinds of work­— anything that is somehow routine and predictable regardless of the industry and in many cases regardless of skill and education. That includes assembly-line type jobs which have, for the most part, already disappeared. But it also includes occupations like flipping hamburgers or driving vehicles. And most importantly it includes a huge number of knowledge-based jobs where you have people sitting in front of a computer doing the same kinds of tasks again and again.

Globalization of employment will continue to be a key trend in future. Here too, digitalization is the strongest driver. International software corporations already employ large numbers of developers in the Indian city of Bangalore, while European companies are operating shared-services and technical support activities out of the Philippines. The Philippines has long been a global center of business- process outsourcing—the contracting of business activities to a third-party provider. Demand for these services will increase: a study by Roland Berger, the global strategy consultancy, forecasts that in 2030, there will be a shortage of around 50 million trained workers on the European market across a variety of sectors, but especially in the IT industry. This is the chance for Filipinos!

So there is no shortage of work ahead —but right across the globe, the biggest task will be to make sure that this translates into the right education for the new job market entries.

Given this situation and outlook, it is worrying to see in the IMD World Talent Ranking 2021 report that the Philippines dropped nine spots in an annual global ranking of countries’ ability to attract and retain a skilled work force, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the education of millions of young Filipinos. The main factors affecting the Philippines’s  performance in investment and development are the effective implementation of apprenticeship programs, the quality of education (measured as pupil-teacher ratio in primary and secondary schools).

Let me repeat the wise words of Ramon del Rosario, chairman of Philippine Business for Education: “It’s the private sector that is creating the jobs. But government has to create an enabling environment for the jobs to be created!” Development will require not only a corps of highly skilled individuals capable of absorbing advance technology; it will also require a minimum of scientific literacy and technological skill; it will also need the setting of professional standards, the delineation of fields of expertise, and the organization of communities of knowledge. Education can no longer afford to leave anybody behind. All young people—whether they go to college or not—will need a similar set of core competencies if they are to succeed in today’s labor markets. Government, the private sector and civil society have to work closely together to Safe the Children.

We all have to understand that an organization is only as good as the people it employs and trains.

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