Creating more employment boosts automation readiness: PHILEXPORT

An export industry leader has underscored the need for the country to create more employment opportunities especially in the rural areas to prepare itself for Industry 4.0 and foster inclusive national economic development agenda.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. noted the Yonsei University Automation Readiness Index 2017 indicating that low unemployment, labor productivity, income inequality, and high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita are the factors affecting automation readiness.

“(These are) areas where the Philippines still needs to work on a lot. However, this does not mean that we should brush this issue aside. We must understand today the challenges that we will have to face in the future, and consequently be able to draw possible directions and interventions to overcome them,” he said.

Ortiz-Luis noted industry stakeholders are thus pushing forward advocacies on education, such as Industry 4.0 workforce readiness and in strengthening government-academe-industry linkages.

He cited a study conducted by the Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center showing that the sectors in the Philippines that are most vulnerable to automation are those of men, youth, less educated, low income earners, and those in the agriculture sector.

“This puts our country at risk to the impacts of Industry 4.0 since these sectors comprise the majority of our country’s current demographics, which consequently suggests that a lot of Filipinos are foreseen to suffer the impacts that Industry 4.0 will bring,” he added.

In terms of industries, the same study identified finance, construction and transportation, storage, accommodation, and food service as the most vulnerable.

“There is a silver lining though. In contrast to common knowledge, Industry 4.0 will not displace the Philippine workforce completely and right away because new jobs are also created along with technological advancements; jobs that will fill the gaps of newly created technologies,” Ortiz-Luis said.

He was referring to 21st century skills such as creative intelligence, social intelligence, and critical thinking.

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