By DOM GALEON
In recent years, more and more nations, particularly in the west, have started to fear widespread unemployment that threatens to affect the developed world in the next decade or so. This predicted the surge in unemployment, according to a number of studies, will be due in large part to automation, a trend that more and more companies are beginning to latch on.
In the future, these studies argue, more and more machines will take over human jobs, especially manual labor. An Oxford University research suggests that around 57 percent of jobs all around the world are at risk of being taken over by machines, which are expected to be cheaper and more efficient than human workers.
But all of that is in the future, near or distant. In the Philippines, at least, employment is on the rise. According to data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), unemployment in the country has gone down from 6.6 percent in 2017 (the highest in recent years) to 5.2 percent in the beginning of 2019. The country’s employment rate, conversely, is up at 94.9 percent—a total of around 41.2 million people—by the end of 2018, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“Workers in the services sector composed the largest proportion of the employed persons,” the PSA report reads. “These workers made up 56.6 percent of the total employed in 2018. Among them, those engaged in the wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the largest proportion (19.4 percent) of workers […]. Workers in the agriculture sector was the second largest group making up 24.3 percent of the total employed in 2018, while workers in the industry sector made up the smallest group registering 19.1 percent of the total employed.”
These numbers indicate that there are more jobs available for Filipinos today. The government has taken a more active role in bridging the employment needs of various companies and the available workforce in the country. Apart from the government, there are also private entities that host job fairs. One of these is The Manila Bulletin (MB).
Since 2010, MB has been hosting at least five job fairs a year, with the first for this year scheduled to open this Tuesday at Farmers Market in Cubao. Over the past years, the MB Job Fair has brought together 35 to 40 companies and an average of 4,000 job seekers. The idea is to streamline the job hunting process to allow companies to hire on-the-spot. Based on data gathered from previous MB Job Fairs, almost 30 percent of job seekers are hired on-the-spot, while 60 percent are deemed qualified for an available job.
Aside from this, the MB Job Fair has also provided important data on job trends. In terms of availability, there remains to be a demand for call center agents and workers at the food and beverage and hospitality sectors. BPOs have a high turnaround employment rate, while restaurants are always looking for additional manpower due to expansions.
“We always believe that every Filipino needs and deserves a better opportunity,” says Mark Dy, head of marketing at The Manila Bulletin. “That is why we are planning bigger job fairs in the next years to come. We plan to increase the participation of overseas agencies and seek the partnership of our government agencies to conduct free training and tutorials at the event itself.”
For this year, the MB Job Fair is scheduled on the following dates: March 19-20 at the Farmers Market in Cubao, May 21-22 at the Skydome of SM North EDSA, July 17-18 at the Fisher Mall in Quezon City, Sept. 17-18 at Farmers Market in Cubao, and Nov. 19-20 at a venue that has yet to be announced.