DOLE unveils labor market, jobs outlook for next three years

The Department of Labor and Employment-Bureau of Local Employment (DOLE-BLE) has bared its latest labor market report and employment forecast with the aim to address and narrow the prevailing job-skills mismatch underlying Philippine unemployment and underemployment problems.

The DOLE-BLE—presenting its flagship publication JobsFit 2022-2025 Labor Market Information (LMI) Report in a recent forum—urged stakeholders to use it as “an essential reference for career and policy planning for further reforms” and the enhancement of decent and productive employment opportunities for Filipino workers.

DOLE Undersecretary Carmela Torres in her opening remarks acknowledged the persistent gap between the skills needed in the labor market and those available in the workforce and said she hoped the report would help minimize the gap.

“This preliminary report gives us an overview of what to expect between now until 2025 within the context of an economy on its way to full recovery from the pandemic and the transformative changes happening in the world of work brought by technological advances,” she said.

The JobsFit LMI report contains information on key employment generating sectors, emerging industries, in-demand and hard-to-fill occupations, and features an action agenda for identified industry gaps and challenges.

It contains employment trends and forecast for the medium term to help guide jobseekers, students, policymakers and other stakeholders in making informed education, training and career choices, said BLE officer-in-charge Patrick Patriwirawan.
“It provides both national and regional LMI reports which aid researchers, policymakers and stakeholders towards informed policymaking and program development,” he said.

Industry outlook

Grace Baldoza, head of the LMI research division of BLE, presented the agency’s industry outlook for major sectors.

Agriculture remains one of the largest industries by employment share, the sector accounting for 22.5% of total employment as of September 2022. However, the sector’s share of GDP has been declining, dropping from 12.9% in 2012 to 9.6% in 2021.

“Youth engagement efforts must be intensified by furthering education, training, and extension programs to equip young farmer leaders and ‘agripreneurs’ with the necessary skills to attract and encourage the younger population to pursue agribusiness opportunities,” said Baldoza.

For banking and finance, banks are expecting double-digit growth over the next two years. With the central bank strengthening digitalization efforts through its Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap, the further development of digital finance infrastructure is expected to facilitate the growth of fintech businesses, particularly as the consumption of goods and services is increasingly driven by online purchases.

The construction sector experienced a decline during the pandemic but has slowly recovered and gained employment by 9.9% in September 2022 over 2020. Between 2023 and 2025, the industry is forecast to record a real annual average growth of 7.6%, with real construction output expected to surpass its pre-pandemic value by 2023.

In the field of education, the Department of Education recently launched the Basic Education Development Plan 2022-2030, to be implemented from 2020 to 2030. The department aims to hire thousands of teachers nationwide to fill up vacancies and have an adequate workforce for the school year 2022-2023.

The healthcare sector has significant long-term potential for growth, said Baldoza. However, “while COVID-19 has placed healthcare front and center, industry sectors are facing several challenges. The crisis has revealed gaps across the payer, provider, and pharma ecosystems, which all declined in 2020,” said Baldoza.

The hotel, restaurant, and tourism sector remains an important one for the Philippine economy, with employment in tourism estimated at 4.895 million in 2021, higher by 4.6% compared to 4.681 million in 2020. The employment share of the tourism industry was at 11.1% of total employment in the country.

On November 7, 2022, the DOT reported that tourist arrivals to the country reached 1.9 million, exceeding the 1.7 million projection for the year. The agency is forecasting the recovery of the country’s domestic travel sector by 2022 at the earliest and by 2024 at the latest.

After a record-high growth in 2021, the Philippine IT-BPM industry is projected to increase between 7% and 8% in terms of full-time employees and 8% and 10% in terms of revenue by the end of the year. It is poised to grow into a US$59-billion industry, with 1.1 million new direct jobs, a 2.5 million-strong workforce, over 500,000 new direct jobs for the countryside, and up to 3 million more indirect jobs.

Artificial Intelligence, in particular, has the potential to be the number one growth driver in the country, said Baldoza.

For the manufacturing sector, firms reported an improvement in operating conditions in September 2022. Greater client appetite has helped boost factory orders, with firms scaling up production. But foreign demand for locally manufactured goods weakened, thereby extending the current run of contraction to seven months and suggesting that growth was primarily driven by domestic demand.

The outlook for the transport and logistics sector is good as logistics services will continue to be in demand as a result of the further loosening of pandemic restrictions, said Baldoza. The logistics and warehousing industry will continue to have an indispensable function in the “new normal” in various sectors including automotive, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and clothing and accessories.

The wholesale and retail trade, on the other hand, is seen to drive 18% of the economy. There will be an increasing shift from shopping in malls and supermarkets to online channels and neighborhood resellers. Baldoza reported that the DTI’s Business Name Registration System database showed that business name registrations has increased, with 305,058 out of a total 574,322 being new business registrations as of July 2022. E-commerce also offers enormous opportunities for wholesaler and retailers.

The list of emerging industries expected to be the drivers of growth within the next 18 months is led by the IT-BPO sector in top spot, followed by energy, healthcare, consumer goods and industrial manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction and real estate, financial services, aerospace, agro-processing and construction.

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