Pharmaceutical companies are urging the government, educational institutions, and businesses to have the country’s education system tailored to fit the requirements of industries for a more competent business environment.
In a session on human capital at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit on Wednesday, JP Morgan Asia CEO Nicolas Aguzin noted that although more people were investing on education and more graduates were being produced yearly, the problem of unemployment still persisted.
“There is still something wrong,” Aguzin said. “People are more educated. We invest in education, companies are growing they need more people, but we still cannot match them. Something is not working.”
Aguzin said the problem was a supply and demand imbalance in the jobs that graduates were looking for and the jobs available at various industries.
“What we’re producing is not really what a lot of corporations need,” he stressed.
Phinma Corporation President and CEO Ramon del Rosario said the academe must be informed of the kind of competencies that industries look for their employees.
“There is an opportunity to be involved in defining the competencies that come out in our educational system, even participating in the design of the curriculum, particularly in the professions we are interested in,” said Del Rosario. “I think industry has a role to play in defining the competencies that they are looking for and the skills they are interested in and also identifying the opportunities that are out there, and projecting that four or five years forward, because that’s the time it takes to get a degree.”
Del Rosario also suggested the establishment of a summit, where in members of the industry, the academe, and the government will get together to discuss how the country’s education system can be improved.
“It is very important for industry and academe, with government as well, to work together, to come to a consensus on what educational institutions should be doing in terms of students who are going through the process,” he said.
Leaders in the health sector also called for government, industries, and the academe to put their acts together to promote health literacy in the country for a healthier and competent workforce.
Department of Health Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go illustrated how a person’s health has its effects on a person’s finances.
“When a workers suffer from ill health, their productivity decline, and it will lead them to spend money on medicine and treatment,” Go said. “When a workers’ productivity is heavily compromised, they are not able to work, so they drop out. They spend their funds.
It leads to more poverty for the family and with lack of funds, they are more exposed to elements, like infant mortality, maternal mortality, infectious disease, and non-communicable diseases.”
He added that the problem even weighs more on the government, as the demand to help the poor people is even bigger.
Sanofi Pasteur CEO Olivier Charmeil, meanwhile, stressed the importance of disease prevention to lessen future human resource problems in the future, citing that over 3 million children die every year from vaccine-prevented diseases.
“In the coming years, if we selectively are not able to address the prevention of those diseases, it’s going to be a terrible burden for each and every minister of Finance in each and every country,” said Charmeil. “If we don’t make significant progress in prevention, we are going to be at some point facing a war, with the ageing population. A lot of efforts will be needed to take those new costs that will be incurred due to the ageing of the population.”