Job opportunities in green, digital and care

Employers tackle megatrends in the Philippines and their effects on investment, employment and sustainability, including artificial intelligence and key policies.

Employers and business leaders in the Philippines convene to tackle employment challenges and change drivers that are rapidly transforming the world of work. The 45th National Conference of Employers (NCE), held on 25-26 June 2024, focused on how technology and artificial intelligence affect jobs.

Sangheon Lee, Director of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Employment Policy, Job Creation and Livelihoods Department led the first plenary session. He presented megatrends and their effects on investment, employment and sustainability.

“Investigating employment impact means looking at the quantity and quality of jobs and employment distribution. We must create decent jobs with better skills and working conditions,” he said.

Sangheon Lee at the National Conference of Employers in the Philippines.
Sangheon Lee at the National Conference of Employers in the Philippines. | © Minette Rimando/ILO

Speaking at the NCE, Lee advised employers not to panic but get prepared for technology, digital and artificial intelligence. “AI is more likely to augment rather than destroy jobs by automating some tasks.”

“Such transition will involve enterprise development, skills and income support given its great potential for job creation combined with comprehensive and integrated employment policies and social protection,” he added.

During the plenary, he underlined the importance of considering a range of profound conditional opportunities in green, digital and demographic transitions. However, it will require moving people and enterprises to where opportunities start.

In the green transition, improving energy efficiency in buildings and appliances, decarbonizing electrical power generation through shift to renewable energy and expanding electric vehicles usage and associated infrastructure can create additional net 8.4 million jobs.

Meanwhile, reaching universal (90 per cent) internet broadband coverage can create additional net of 6.4 million jobs. Moreover, investments in health and social care provision and in education coverage can yield to additional net of 17.9 million jobs.

Along the transition, Lee warned however that there will be people left behind. He recommended policy principles be transformative and inclusive, and that job quality matters, not a secondary consideration.

There should be specific focus on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) when it comes to enterprises and youth when it comes to people. The situation is more complex for young people moving them from education to employment. Moving takes time, but the process must be inclusive.

Young people are two to three times more likely to be unemployed but that is only one side of the story. Many young people withdraw from the job market. They are Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET), which is relatively high in the Philippines at 17 per cent.

Rosemarie Rafael of the Women’s Business Council Philippines supported the need to upskill and reskill workers and promote continuous education and learning, including young people. She also recognized MSMEs in the Philippines as the driver of the economy.

“We need to help MSMEs move from informal, to formal, to global. Collaboration and the ease of doing business are key factors in driving good business. We must make it easy for investors to invest,” Rafael underscored.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) spearheaded the NCE. It emphasized the importance of collaboration among businesses, workers, and governments to promote decent work and ensure seamless transitions into the technology-driven workplace, with a focus on lifelong learning, upskilling, and reskilling to preserve global competitiveness and prevent job displacement.

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