More Pinoys working part-time, DOLE says

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 21 2012 02:14 AM | Updated as of Jun 21 2012 10:14 AM

MANILA, Philippines - More people are now working part-time and they seem contented not having a full-time job.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said results of the April 2012 Labor Force Survey (LFS) indicated a rise in part-time employment and a decline in full-time employment nationwide.

While the quality of employment as indicated by the increase in the number of persons in wage and salary employment has improved, Baldoz said the positive development was negated by the decline in full-time and rise in part-time employment.

“This phenomenon was observed both across age groups and in the industry and services sectors. The unusual rise in part-time employment though appears to be voluntary,” Baldoz said.

She said the rise in part-time employment appeared voluntary because there was no notable increase in visible under-employment.

“No significant increase in visible underemployment means that a majority of those who found part-time employment during the quarter did not express the desire for additional hours of work,” Baldoz explained.

Baldoz, however, said the phenomenon could also be a fluke or temporary in nature, thus the need for further validation of the survey results.

She admitted though that the problem of under-employment remains a serious challenge despite a marginal decrease from 19.4 percent in April 2011 to 19.3 percent in April 2012.

Baldoz said the percentage went down but the actual number showed that underemployed persons or those employed who have expressed desire for additional job increased by 185,000 to 7.312 million.

Yet Baldoz welcomed the overall results of the National Statistics Office’s second quarter Labor Force Survey (LFS), which indicated continuing growth in the employment level.

The April 2012 LFS showed there were 37.8 million employed persons in April 2012 compared to 36.8 million in April 2011.

She expressed confidence that the growth in employment would continue with the improving economy and steadily increasing dollar remittances from Filipinos abroad.

“This and other positive developments could kick-start more robust economic activities that will benefit job generation efforts,” she said.

Baldoz also gave assurances that DOLE would intensify efforts in ensuring effective implementation of its job facilitation programs.

“Side by side with these efforts, DOLE will continue to sustain industrial peace to make the business environment more conducive to investment. We will ensure stronger social protection for the vulnerable sectors,” she said.

Baldoz also urged tech-savvy students to consider computer-based courses and help solve the country’s skills mismatch problem.

She said computer gaming or being tech-savvy is not merely for pastime but also a basis to build a career.

Baldoz said creative jobs such as web content writers, virtual assistants, game designers and application developers can be a productive career for many young students.

“If they are into administrative and organizational work, they may consider a path towards becoming a virtual assistant who provides online creative and/or technical services to clients, or a web content writer if they have the passion for online research, writing, and editing,” she said.

“With the invention of specialized applications and software, especially the fast-paced evolution of gadgets and the rise of social networking games, the demand for these creative professions is expected to boom in the next years,” Baldoz added.

According to Baldoz, virtual industries have been identified to be among the emerging sectors where employment opportunities are seen to flourish in the next 10 years.

Baldoz urged students to consider Computer Science and technology-related courses for them to become application developers and game designers.

Such careers involve writing specifications required in applications and using programming computer languages and development tools to design, build, test, implement, and support games and applications.

Others may also attend short courses on technological development and new software packages, she pointed out.

Those computer-based jobs in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry have starting pays ranging from P12,000 to P20,000.

Computer-based skills, Baldoz said, are also in-demand in a wide range of business sectors, with the increasing need for specialized software developers and designers who can write programs according to the company’s specifications.

“Salaries may range up to P50,000 for successful and experienced designers and developers,” she pointed out.

Baldoz further encouraged young students to check the DOLE’s career guidance services so they could make good career decisions that will ease the problem of jobs and skills mismatch.

“This early, graduating high school students should browse the DOLE Career Guides for them to get a good grasp of the in-demand college and technical-vocational courses that will lead them to productive income-earning opportunities after graduation,” she explained.

Students can help resolve the jobs and skills mismatch problem by pursuing courses and skills that would easily fit them into jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities in the labor market, Baldoz said.

Instead of taking popular courses, those less considered courses may prove to be the best paying and the most productive ones, Baldoz stressed.