Jobs mismatch still a reality

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

WHEN graduates scramble for work after college, skills become their only fighting chance to win over the employers.

Department of Labor and Employment-Davao Region (Dole-11) regional director Atty. Joffrey Suyao said employers are now more keen on the skills rather than the educational background of the applicants, which gives rise to the problem of jobs mismatch.

"Ano ba ang problema bakit hindi nae-employ ang ating mga graduates, supposedly ito yun nakapag-aral, ito yung may skills, but then when we talk to industries ang sasabihin nila, they don't have the skills that they are looking for or they might have the skills but it's not much of what they need," he said.

In Dole parlance, jobs mismatch means when the job seekers do not match the skills requirement of the employers.

"It's a major problem, and it's the problem not only common sa Pilipinas. It's not only isolated to the Philippines because this is a problem worldwide," he said.

The jobs mismatch, he said, forms a major part of the unemployment rate.
With this, the labor department is in serious talk with the education sector to update their course curricula that will bring the skills closer, if not at par with the standards of the industries.

"We talk to our our training education sector: DepEd, Ched, and Tesda. Sinasabihan natin sila na ito yung kailangan ng industries, why don't you supply these skills. Ito yung demand," he said.

On the supply side, the labor official said educational institutions are slowly becoming receptive to their appeal to review their course curricula, if indeed, they are producing graduates with the right skill set for the companies on the demand side.

"That's why, in Davao Region, we have what we call JobsFit, a document that details out which industries need more workforce and what skills," he said.

According to JobsFit released in June last year, the agriculture, hunting, and forestry still top the employment forecast from 2010 to 2016 in the region.

For 2014 employment forecast, the number of jobs is expected to reach 672,100 jobs, which is expected to increase further to 673,730 jobs by 2015 and 675,350 jobs by 2016.

Trailing behind is wholesale and retail industries with 379,230 jobs for 2014, which is seen to reach 390,800 by 2015, and 402,380 jobs by 2016.

Listed as the third highest job generators are transportation, storage, and communication with an employment forecast of 135,430 jobs in 2014, which will grow to 138,600 jobs and 141,780 jobs by 2016.

Manufacturing comes the fourth highest with employment forecast of 119,230 in 2014; 122,950 in 2015; and 126,630 in 2016.

Dole 11 assistant regional director Venerando Cebrano said the growth of the manufacturing will give rise to the number of other job-generating sectors that will stir the local economy of the region.

"Sabi nila mas mataas ang economy pagka marami ang nagma-manufacture. That's one good theory. So, if a region is into manufacturing, then it's a good region," he said.

With its high demand for labor requirement, more jobseekers will be employed in manufacturing alone, plus the other sectors will benefit in the process as an offshoot of these companies' operations.

He said, for instance, many of the manufacturing companies have high demand for necessary tools and equipment and other logistics that will redound to inclusive growth.

"Whereas kung nagtatanim at nagproproduce ka lang ng banana, what you earn is from export, plus only those people (directly involved in the production) can benefit," he said.

"That's one of the best efforts of our investment system in the city. In that way, maraming tao ang ma-eemploy," he added.

Meanwhile, construction industry comes the fifth highest, registering an employment forecast of 86,880 jobs in 2014; 89,200 jobs in 2015; and 91,530 jobs in 2016.

Suyao also said that the region is still recouping in terms of employment rate after Typhoon Pablo wrecked havoc the region in December 2012, toppling its top job generator -- agriculture.

Despite the calamities, the labor official still cited Davao as among the most resilient regions in Mindanao.

Based on the data released by National Statistics Office (NSO), the employment rate in Northern Mindanao was down by 1.4 from 94.4 percent in January 2013 to 93 percent in January 2014. The employment rate in Soccsksargen, meanwhile, inched up a bit to 96 percent as of January 2014 as compared to 95.2 percent in the same period last year.

The Davao Region was only down by 0.1 percent or 93.6 percent as of January this year as compared to 93.7 percent in the same period last year.

It sustained its employment rate at 93.7 percent in January 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012.

Davao Region's underemployment rate, defined as the number of employees who are unsatisfied with their current jobs, was reported at 19.7 percent as of January 2014, lower than the 21.1 percent registered in the same period in 2013.

However, the 2013 and 2014 underemployment rates in the region were still much higher as against in January 2012 figure with 15 percent.

Based on the Project JobsFit, Dole 11 listed five more emerging industries that are potentially huge job generators in the region. These are real estate and renting; mining and quarrying; fishing; health and social work; and financial intermediation.

"All of these industries are project to deliver a total of 209,400 jobs in 2013 and expected to rise to 250,875 jobs in 2016 or about 20 percent increase employments," it said.

The unemployment and underemployment rates were affected by environmental factors, including typhoon Pablo and the low pressure areas that dumped rain and created devastation floods.

Historically, Suyao added unemployment rate usually spikes by April, as more graduates will be joining the supply side hunting for jobs.
With the holding of job fairs, Suyao added Dole 11 can improve the employment rate.

"Mag-iimprove na naman siya kahit papano pagdating ng third quarter," he said.

There are three major job fair events that Dole spearheads annually, including the Labor Day Job Fair on May 1. The two others are Independence Day (Kalayaan) Job Fair on June 12 and the Dole anniversary Job Fair on December 8. Among the three, Labor Day Job Fair is the biggest, with more than 30,000 job openings for domestic and abroad.

With the obvious lack, he said Philippines is working with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) through sharing of best practices as to how to significantly improve the labor force.

"It (jobs mismatch) contributes major to the unemployment problem, if the industries could not hire the students because the skills that they need really are not with the students or graduates. There's really a ballooning problem of unemployment," he added.

"That's why, we have Tesda as a bridge, from school to them, para ma-enhance ang employability. Even the out-of-school-youth pinapasok sa Tesda," he said.

The implementation of the K to 12 is also seen to improve labor force, what with the inclusion of two years in high school that seeks to expose students in vocational courses.

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