Big business groups collaborate to address job-skills mismatch

MANILA, Philippines – Big business groups are collaborating to find ways to address the problem of job-skills mismatch in the country which they said have long hampered the growth of various industries.

The Makati Business Club (MBC), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) – the  three largest and most influential business organizations in the country – are embarking on several initiatives together with the government that will solve the country’s job-skills mismatch concern.

“We, together with other business groups like PCCI and MAP, are working with the government to ensure the matching of skills with the requirement of industry because what we need is to make sure that the needs of the industry in the next five to 10 years is met and that our education system and our population would match,” MBC chairman Ed Chua told The STAR.

In a joint study published last year by the International Labor Organization and Employers Confederation of the Philippines, job-skills mismatch was identified as a significant factor hampering the country’s manufacturing potential and constraining its economic growth.

The mismatch is also said to be a contributing factor to the high unemployment rate in the Philippines.

PCCI president George Barcelon had asked the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to come up with a long-term master plan to identify emerging industries in the country so that the education sector could prepare a qualified workforce.

“We have been fortunate that we speak English very well and with the advent of computerization, business process outsourcing sector became a hit for us,” Barcelon said.

“NEDA should come out with a master plan because 25 years from now, new industries will rise and the present industry that we are dealing here may not be. So what I told them is you lead us. You have the resources to look at what industry sector that we can now invest in our young,” he added.

Through the help of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, PCCI launched last month the second phase of the K to 12 Plus Project to provide employers a sustainable supply of a future workforce whose technical-vocational skills match those that industries need.

“The project serves as the German government and the Philippine project partners’ commitment to be at the forefront of instituting programs and projects that will create a pool of qualified, competent and job-ready human resources that will contribute to the productivity and sustainability of enterprises, generate employment and reduce poverty in our country,” Barcelon said.

He said more member-chambers of PCCI in cities and provinces, industry associations and enterprises would be cooperating with senior high schools and tech-voc education and training institutes in designing curricula that reflect employable skills.

He said graduates of senior high school in the country should be equipped with “21st century skills” relevant not only to labor market needs here and abroad, but also relevant to requirements for national development.