With the projected trend of continued robust growth of the construction sector, modernization, innovation, continuous research and development, and repair and maintenance of existing machinery are some of the key strategies that need to be implemented in order to raise the productivity of the local ceramic tiles sector.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz expressed this recommendation at the presentation to 10 industries, including the ceramic tiles sector, of the preliminary results of the HRD Roadmap, 2016-2022 held at the DOLE recently.
The HRD Roadmap, 2016-2022, initiated by the DOLE in cooperation with the International Labor Organization and the private sector, contains labor supply and demand information and responsive, timely, and critical strategies that will support 22 industries/sectors in their current and future HR requirements. It identifies human resource constraints and solutions to improve human resource competitiveness in the industries. The industries/sectors covered by the HRD Roadmap have industry roadmaps formulated by the Department of Trade and Industry.
The 22 industries are aerospace, automotive, automotive parts, biodiesel, cement, ceramic tiles, chemicals, copper and copper products, electric vehicles, electronics, furniture, iron and steel, IT-BPM, manufacturing, metal casting, motorcycles, natural health products, petrochemicals, plastic, rubber products, jewelry, and toll and die.
“The HRD Roadmap, 2016-2022 also recommends to the ceramic tiles sector the offering of more local job opportunities for professional and skilled workers specific to the sector,” said Baldoz.
The labor and employment chief said it is important for the ceramic tile sector to heed this recommendation because the sector is facing a diminishing number of ceramic-related course workers because of less enrolment and the general trend of labor out-migration.
The ceramic tile sector, a sub-sector of manufacturing of non-metallic mineral products and which main business activity involves the manufacturing of ceramic floor and wall tiles, directly employs 1,400 workers and thousands more through its linkages. The sector contributes P600 million annually in taxes and revenues. It contributed P5.05 billion in safeguard duty when the Safeguard Measure for Ceramic Tiles was imposed from 2001-2012. The ceramic tile sector has an annual capacity utilization of 30 million square meters, although only 65 percent of this is being utilized because of the influx of low-cost, imported tiles.
Currently, there are only three major domestic players in the sector under the umbrella of the Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers Association. These are Mariwasa Siam ceramics, Eurotiles Industrial Corporation, and Ten Zen Tiles.
“The Roadmap for the ceramic tiles sector bares the need for more locals—both ceramic-related engineering and technical vocational graduates—in order to help the local ceramic tiles sector compete in the global market,” Baldoz added.
Based on the ceramic tile sector HRD Roadmap, it needs graduates of chemical, chemistry, mechanical, ceramics, industrial, electronics, and engineering graduates, as well as fine arts, architecture, industrial design, and business-related professionals.
As for skilled workers, needed by the sector would be those with mechatronics and instrumentation servicing skills, with National Certificates II, III, and IV.
The ceramic tile sector is projected to have a shortage of corporate executives and specialized managers, supervisors, physicists, engineering professionals, and plant operators. But it is expected to experience surpluses in drivers, machine operators and assemblers, craft workers, and associate engineering professionals.
At the presentation of the ceramic tile sector HRD Roadmap, Baldoz expressed the hope the roadmap will help the government and the private sector to address the human resource issues in the ceramic tiles sector, such as talent war, mismatch, and skill shortages. “Specifically, I hope the roadmap for the sector will propel local ceramic tile manufacturers toward greater competitiveness in the global market,” she said.
The ceramic tile sector itself, during the formulation of its HRD roadmap, particularly asked the government to implement sound strategies and program intervention in the sector, such as greater sector involvement in curriculum development and design and adoption of in-house talent development program, with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority accrediting in-house training.
Sector representatives also pledged their support to intensified career guidance and advocacy efforts for engineering and technical-vocational students, but sought government support for industry modernization and innovation.
Baldoz said the DOLE will continue to establish formal convergence with the DTI and its Board of Investments, and the Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers Association on joint data collection, validation, and analysis.