Let’s call a spade a spade and start digging.
In Dec. 2014, Labor Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz hoped that the Philippine employment situation in 2015 will continue to grow because the employment situation in the country was “generally positive and encouraging in 2014.”
For a three-year period (2013-2016) the forecasted employment impact of each sector was 2.5 million jobs for tourism; IT-BPO, 1.3 million; electronics, 350,000; food processing, 144,000; chemicals, 83,000; garments, 36,000; automotive, 24,000; iron and steel, 11,000; and minerals processing, 2,000.
“There are six identified priority sectors, namely, agriculture/agribusiness; manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure and logistics; housing; and information technology-business process management (IT-BPM). Based on the projections of employment impact on selected priority sectors, there will be a demand for almost 4.5 million workers between 2013 and 2016. We see increased demand for workers in tourism (2.5 million) and in the IT-BPM (1.3 million),” she said.
Final result, July 2015
From the estimated 66.6 million population 15 years old and over, 41.9 million persons were in the labor force. Out of this total, 93.5 percent were employed with services providing the most jobs (55.5 percent); agriculture, 28.0 percent and industry, 16.5 percent. While services provided the most employment, 44.2 percent of those were underemployed.
Laborers and unskilled workers constitute the largest proportion of the employed as they comprised one-third (32.3 percent) of the employed population most of them in the wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.
The upper echelon of the employed are officials of government and special-interest organizations, corporate executives, managers, managing proprietors and supervisors comprising the second largest occupation group had 16.4 percent.
More than a quarter (26.1 percent) were self-employed, 3.4 percent were employers in own family-operated farm or business, and 8.1 percent were unpaid family workers.
Two things stand out: Of the 4.4 million unemployed, 62.1 percent were males; 22 percent were college graduates. By region, Central Luzon has the most unemployed
There are jobs but no qualified applicants
Job skills mismatch remains the greatest stumbling block toward economic growth and, for professionals and skilled workers, viable career pathways.
In a study conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Bureau for Employers Activities (ACT/EMP) and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), it was reported that “job skills mismatch in the country is more pronounced in manufacturing, electronics/semiconductor and tourism – three areas identified by the Philippine Development Plan as primary job generators for the country.”
Further, the study shows that mismatch occurs at two levels and impacts two groups: Unemployed youth or out of school youth; and educated unemployment people of working age.
On the one hand, there is a need for skilled, qualified and competent workers for certain occupations and industries but unemployed or out-of-school youths do not have enough education to enable them to learn and acquire technical competencies and specialized skills.
Then we have college graduates whose academic-acquired skills are not those demanded by the economy.
So we have a situation where college graduates get entry-level jobs that do not require diplomas. They get into the workplace to get experience, with the hope of moving up either within the company or the industries that exhibit continuing shortages of applicants: manufacturing, electronics/semiconductor and tourism.
Stay for the pay or go for the dough?
Employees must be paid – right and decent wages, on time.
The National Wages and Productivity Commission issued the current daily minimum rates – effective April 4, 2015 – for those working in agriculture, non-agriculture, private hospitals, retail/service and manufacturing establishments (see table below)
In 2012, a family of five would need an average of P5,513 per month in order to meet their basic food needs, and a further P2,377 in order to meet the non-food needs. (NCSB Poverty Statistics). This household needs P7,890 to be considered out of the poverty threshold.
Non-agricultural workers should be earning P9,620 a month (based on the minimum wage rates supposedly effective since April 4, 2015).
All the other workers in the specified industry groups above should be bringing in a monthly income of P8,880 – just barely over the poverty hole.
On the other hand, government employees (excluding the top government officials, executives in government-owned and controlled corporations) are looking forward to an average 27 percent pay raise after President B.S. Aquino signed Executive Order No. 201, two weeks after Congress adjourned without passing the proposed wage standardization law.
The salary increase for civilian personnel will be implemented in four tranches – the first applied retroactively effective Jan.1, 2016. The succeeding tranches will be implemented every year until 2019.
In addition, the EO also grants civilian government personnel a mid-year bonus equivalent to one month’s basic salary, and the productivity enhancement incentive worth P5,000. How productivity is measured – and felt by the taxpayers remains unexplained and unaccounted for.
Gunning to silence uneasiness in the ranks, the EO provides for a higher hazard pay for the military and uniformed personnel, a provisional allowance and officers’ allowance.
The monthly hazard pay for soldiers will be raised from P240 to P390 this year, P540 next year, P690 in 2018 and P840 in 2019. The officers’ allowance, meanwhile, will be given to those with the rank of captain up to four-star general and their equivalents. The allowance will range from P1,000 to P9,000 in the first tranche, P3,000 to 18,000 in the second tranche, P4,500 to P25,000 in the third tranche and P7,000 to P35,000 in the fourth tranche.
Food and poverty thresholds
The Philippine Statistics Authority’s report on Poverty Incidence last year shows that “during the first semester… a family of five needed at least P6,365 on the average every month to meet the family’s basic food needs and at least P9,140 on the average every month to meet both basic food and non-food needs. These amounts represent the monthly food threshold and monthly poverty threshold, respectively, an increase of about 17 percent from the first semester of 2012 to the first semester of 2015.
Median Annual Salary
Salaries are by no means the only way to gauge whether a Filipino professional or skilled worker would work here, stay and be content with the current pay in the Philippines or go for bigger dough in the preferred countries of work and/or permanent residency.
Other than in KSA, Filipino professionals would have to pass the licensure or registration exam in the country of intended work or residency. But the pay-off increases from the second to the succeeding years as the Filipino moves up the career ladder.
By last count from Department of Labor and Employment data, 6,092 Filipinos leave every day to work there, not here.
The Philippine government has to dig deeper not just into its pockets but more from its conscience, after proclaiming to the world that the people are the bosses.
So far, the bosses continue to vote with their feet, staying overseas–digging in.