At the ‘1st Kapihan at Balitaan’ Media Forum
Baldoz says ‘soft-skills are just as important as technical expertise’

“Hard skills, or technical skills, have little value if you have poor soft skills. While it is true that the talent and abilities you bring to the workplace mean everything for being offered a position, your attitude will define who you are and how your employers decide whether or not you are worthy of keeping the job.”

This is the message of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz at the “1st DOLE Kapihan at Balitaan: A Media Forum,” held at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City last week.

“Soft skills, as opposed to hard skills, tend to center on the ability to work with other people. These refer to abilities in communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking, and professionalism,” Baldoz said, adding:

“It is just as important in helping a jobseeker land a job. In a competitive job market where there are many candidates with similar hard skills, an applicant with exemplary soft skills will stand out.”

Joining Baldoz in advocating soft-skills are Dominique Rubia-Tutay, DOLE-Bureau of Local Employment Director; Alfredo Lim, Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP) Director; Alfredo Hernandez,  IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IT-BPAP) Education Lead and Talent Development; and Ryan Sebastian, Department of Tourism (DOT) Project Officer.

According to the 2011-2012 BLES Integrated Survey (BITS) on hard-to-fill job vacancies, unemployment and underemployment among youth continues to be a problem in the Philippines despite the substantial number of jobs available. In fact, a total of 15,667, or 59.7 percent, of the 26,253 were actively recruiting job applicants between January 2011 and June 2012.

The survey also revealed that the total number of job openings stood at 619,580. Of these vacancies, a total of 149,226, or 24.1 percent are hard-to-fill; and more than one-third, or 35.8 percent, cited the shortage of applicants with the right competencies as the biggest recruitment challenge.

This was followed by too few applicants applying for the job at 20.3 percent; lack of years of experience in the job (17.5%); applicants’ expectation of high salary (15.2%); lack of professional license/skills certification (3.8%); competition from overseas employment (3.2%); and issues on work location or work schedule problems (1.6%).

“From these observations, we can conclude that the main reason behind the difficulty in filling-up these vacancies is the job readiness of a jobseeker,” Baldoz said.

“This is not a bad thing. We are looking at it as opportunities for us to help jobseekers and new entrants to the workforce improve their chances of being hired and employed by equipping them with relevant skills, valuable work experience, and proper work attitude through the various training and bridging-employment programs offered by the DOLE,” she added.

The labor and employment chief shared that the jobseekers can acquire these employable skills through institution-based training or through TESD programs offered by public or private institutions, schools or training centers.

Among the many ways the youth may improve their employability is by strengthening their Labor Market Information (LMI) know-how. The BLE has developed client specific labor market Information, education and communication materials and has conducted advocacy activities to provide accurate signals on jobs and skills in demand and shortages.

“The 1st DOLE Kapihan and Balitaan: A Media Forum,” Baldoz said, “is also one of the innovative ways to reach our target audiences. With the help of our media friends, the Department can promote and advocate available employment facilitation services for clients.”

The Kapihan and Balitaan Forum is conducted in a conference setting every three months. The first series of session will revolve around the findings of the JobsFit LMI Report 2013-2020 which includes the list of key and emerging industries and their corresponding in-demand and hard-to-fill occupations.

“Employment and jobs mismatch issues can be managed with sustained pro-activity from the government and support of the public. We are confident that by working together, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development can be fast achieved,” Baldoz finally said.

END/hjtg

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