The Filipino workers and their ever-improving competitiveness are the best reason why businesses should invest in the Philippines.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz sad this yesterday before ambassadors and international corporate moguls who attended the annual luncheon meeting of the Nordic Business Council of the Philippines (NBCP) at the New World Hotel in Makati City.
Substantiating this, the labor and employment chief cited the following notable facts about the country:
(1) Expanding human resource base. From 38.893 million in 2010, the Philippine labor force has reached 41.370 million in 2014, an increase of 2.5 million. However, a considerable share of the working age population of about 22.6 million in 2014 has remained outside the labor force because of family or household duties, retirement, schooling or permanent disability.
“Our labor force fell between July 2014 and July 2015 rounds of the Labor Force Survey, but this is because of the change in academic calendar of many colleges and universities, which delayed the entry of the graduates into the labor market. Thus, labor force participation rate went down to 63.0 percent from 64.4 percent,” Baldoz explained.
(2) Positive trend in employment. Employment in the country has increased at least 2.4 percent between 2010 and 2014. In the July 2015 Labor Force Survey, however, employment declined to 38.34 million from 38.453 million in July 2014, due to the El Niño phenomenon adversely affecting the agriculture sector.
She said, however, that the decline in the proportion of workers in self-employment and unpaid family work was complemented by an increasing share in wage employment, particularly in private establishments.
“In all years, except 2014, private employees recorded the highest annual growth rates: 5.4 percent in 2010; 5.9 percent in 2011; 6.1 percent in 2012; 4.5 percent in 2013; 3.8 percent in 2014; and 6.6 percent in 2015.
(3) Unemployment on the downtrend, from 7.4 percent in 2010 to 6.5 percent in 2015. A record of as low as 6.0 percent unemployment rate was noted in the October 2014 LFS round—lowest ever recorded since April 2005, when the Philippines adopted the international standard to include the availability criterion in addition to “without work” and looking for work” in the unemployment definition.
(4) Youth unemployment rate steadily decreasing, from 17.6 percent in 2010 to 15.3 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, July 2015 LFS results show links to education system reforms, such as a decrease in youth labor force by 447,000; lower youth labor force participation rate of 42.2 percent; and Youth Not-in-Education and Not-in-Employment (NEET) falling from 25.2 percent in 2010 to 23.1 percent in 2014.
(5) Progress in labor productivity, at current prices from 2010 to 2014, labor productivity averaged P284,334 and improved by an annual average growth rate of 7.0 percent. Across sectors, labor productivity was highest in the industry sector, averaging P360,543; followed by the services sector at P181,390.
“But productivity is lowest in agriculture at P57,835,” Baldoz acknowledged, noting that under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the Philippines has sustained high economic growth despite the string of natural disasters that hit the country in the recent years.
“This robust economic growth was accompanied by notable improvements in the Philippine labor market, particularly in the generation of quality employment,” she further said.
The labor and employment chief reminded that in looking at the employment situation in the country, it will also be valuable to look into the competitiveness of the Philippine labor force compared to its ASEAN partners’, particularly in view of upcoming regional economic integration.
“In terms of the growth of labor force in ASEAN, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and the Philippines posted an annual growth rate of 1.5 percent from 2015 to 2020. The Philippines, in particular, recorded the highest at 2.31 percent,” she said.
She also said the country is also proud of a labor force that is relatively young and educated.
“The projected median age of the Filipino workforce by 2030 is at 27.7 years old, compared to other ASEAN member-states with labor force median ages of 44.8, like Thailand; and 31.9 years old, like Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the Filipino talent pool ranked 2nd and 3rd in ASEAN for having men and women between ages 15 to 44 attaining tertiary educationand secondary education, respectively.
“There is ample evidence to prove the competitiveness of our human resource; and this is established through implementation of our package of reforms in the areas employment facilitation responding to the continuing and emerging challenges posed by changes in the labor market,” Baldoz said.
“Brick by brick, we are building stronger labor governance institutions supported by responsive labor and employment policies that will sustain our gains. By never losing sight of our national goal of poverty reduction in multiple dimensions and massive creation of quality employment, we hope to see the positive trends continue,” she added.
The NBCP is a Filipino registered non-stock, non-profit organization that promotes and facilitates trade and investment between the Philippines and the Nordic (i.e. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) and Baltic (i.e. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) countries.
Established in late 2012, the NBCP is a business support organization that serves the Nordic business community in the Philippines; and helps in bringing in more Nordic investments to create jobs and to fuel the growth of the Philippine economy.
The luncheon meeting was attended by almost 100 participants with the following as guests: Secretary Baldoz; H.E. Matti Pullinen, Ambassador of the Embassy of Finland in Malaysia; H.E. Erik Forner, Ambassador of the Embassy of Norway in Manila; H.E. Jan Top Christensen, Ambassador of the Royal Danish Embassy in Manila; Joona Selin, Executive Director of the NBCP; Lilia De Lima, Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority; and Rina Alzate, Director of Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines.