Only under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III did the government make a conscious and deliberate effort to up the tempo in labor market information (LMI) delivery to assist students, job seekers, and new labor force entrants make intelligent career choices.
Thus, said Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz shortly after President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Under the P-Noy administration, the DOLE has consistently reached the target number of individuals and institutions provided with timely and accurate LMI,” she said.
According to Baldoz, the DOLE, from 2010 to 2014, has exerted effort to consistently reach a record of 491,433 provided with LMI, surpassing its target of 255,000 individuals. In 2011, the target was still at 255,000, but the actual number of individuals provided with LMI was at 770,330.
In the succeeding years, the DOLE has continually surpassed its target: 1,392,784 individuals were reached in 2012; 2,138,899 individuals in 2013; and 2,981,543 individuals in 2014.
For the first semester of 2015, the Bureau of Local Employment has provided LMI to 1,609,471 individuals, only less than a hundred thousand short of its national target of 1.7 million; and to 22,793 institutions, surpassing its national target of 20,000.
“Although we are successful in reaching our targets, we do not rest on our laurels. We are continuously crafting strategies on how to provide as much labor market information to as many Filipinos as possible; LMI that are timely, accurate, and relevant,” the labor and employment chief said.
The DOLE’s LMI delivery strategy is an offshoot of its study in late 2009, Project JobsFit: The DOLE 2020 Vision, which was a 10-month nationwide research project involving environmental scanning, information gathering, consultation, and ‘signaling’ activities aimed at identifying local and global industries that would drive employment growth, including the corresponding skills requirements, for the next ten years.
The research study identified the key employment generators that have the potential to absorb the most number of workers from 2011-2020. It also named the industries which were seen to provide the most number of employment opportunities in the long term, and these are creative industries, strategic farming and fishing, power and utilities, and renewable energy.
One of the outcomes of the study bore the need for a strategic LMI delivery. In response to the findings of the said study, the DOLE developed several IEC materials for its identified clients.
To date, there are 159 career information pamphlets on in-demand and hard-to-fill occupations, as identified in Project JobsFit. Prior to 2010, there are only 80 career pamphlets available for users.
From 2012 to 2014, the DOLE likewise developed and published 11 industry career guides on the identified key employment generators, namely, agribusiness, cyber services, health and wellness; hotel, restaurant and tourism; mining, construction; banking and finance; manufacturing; ownership dwellings and real estate; transport and logistics; wholesale and retail trade; and overseas employment.
In 2013, the JobsFit LMI report was released as an update to Project JobsFit.
“I cannot over-emphasize the need for updated, relevant, and accurate LMI,” Baldoz said.
“There had already been major changes on the current trends in the labor market; there are challenges to address, and therefore, it is important to update the current and existing body of LMI available, especially those in the 2009 report.
To further expand the reach of accurate and timely LMI dissemination and strengthen career guidance advocacy in the country, the DOLE, through the BLE, expanded the Networks of Guidance Counselors and Advocates as its partner in LMI delivery. From 62 networks with 2,350 members in 2011, the number has grown to 108 networks and 5,431 members as of today.
In 2012, the DOLE led its convergent partners in conducting the country’s first National Career Advocacy Congress. This was followed by another Congress in 2014. In response to the social media obsession of the youth, the tagline, “Follow the Guide. Tag a Career. Like the Future.” was adopted in these Congresses.
The activity was cascaded to the regions with the conduct of the Regional Advocacy Congresses which are now regularly organized by DOLE Regional Offices.
“Through LMI, we aim to provide timely and accurate signals on the current labor market trends and updates by developing client-specific labor market information, education and communication (IEC) materials for target clients, such as the Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs), Networks of Guidance Counselors (NGCs), schools, students, jobseekers, workers, employers, educational institutions, program planners, researchers, policy makers, labor unions/organizations, and international organizations,” said Baldoz.