MANILA - Filipinos could lose more than 18 million jobs in the next 5 to 6 years to automation, the Department of Trade and Industry warned Wednesday.
DTI Usec. Rafaelita Aldaba said that as industries upgrade and adopt new technologies, low-skilled and low-educated workers performing routine jobs would be most vulnerable to automation.
Aldaba said a study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute showed that 48 percent of activities or 18.2 million jobs could be automated in the next few years, with agriculture (6 million jobs), retail (3.4 million jobs) and manufacturing (2.4 million jobs) being the most affected.
Another local study found that jobs in the agriculture, forestry and fishing, financial insurance, mining and quarrying, and construction industries showed the highest probabilities of jobs being automated. The risk, however, is lower in the sectors of education, arts, entertainment, human health, and public administration.
Aldaba noted there is a need to reskill the workforce and improve the education system to make workers more responsive to the current needs of the industry.
“Nagkaroon lang kami ng discussions with the presidents of Philippine State Universities and Colleges, and it’s the same focus – how do we prepare our universities for Industry 4.0, ” Aldaba said.
The official noted that industries, such as information technology(IT) and business processing management (BPM), are working to upgrade the skills of their workers to address possible massive job losses due to automation.
“Some companies are actually already employing the new technologies. What they told me was they did not layoff any of their workers... they did some retraining because even if you bring in the new technologies, there would still be tasks or jobs that your low-skilled workforce could carry out,” Aldaba said.
“Based on the roadmap of the IT-BPM, what they want to happen is to be able to shift iyong mga low-skilled towards mid-skill nila, and the mid-skill toward high-skilled,” she said.
Aldaba stressed it is "very" important for the companies to attract new investments to be able to shift to new technologies.