After helping with the local government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, Jeremy Jimenez opens his computer. He juggles his studies as a college student with his responsibilities as an elected councillor of the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) in Metro Manila.
The 23-year-old councillor knows the pandemic has exacerbated labour market challenges for young people like him. This is especially true for vulnerable youth such as school dropouts, those looking for their first job, or those graduating college with little work experience.
“In the Philippines, the biggest challenge is that qualifications [needed] are high, but the pay does not match the courses taken. And the other is the overworked but underpaid labour force,” said Jeremy.
As a youth leader, Jeremy believes that prioritizing education, providing skills training and promoting youth employment is crucial. He also underlines the value of an effective Labour Market Information (LMI) system for young people.
“It is crucial to listen to the voices of youth, whether or not they have graduated, because not all young people can attend school and graduate. Most of them have excellent skills, so they need jobs that match those skills,” Jeremy said.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) authorities and stakeholders in the Philippines, like in many other countries, have worked for over a decade to address the jobs-skills mismatch. It is considered as a primary cause of skills underutilization, underemployment and unemployment.
“Effective LMI analysis can improve education and training programmes to meet current and future industry skills needs. However, such LMI analysis for improved skills needs anticipation and matching requires reliable and comprehensive information,” said Director Khalid Hassan of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office for the Philippines.
Supply and demand analysis for skilled workers in the Philippines does not fully reflect local skills demand in specific geographical areas. Analyses are conducted on a national scale with a focus on certain economic sectors and major occupational groups. These kinds of analyses are both too broad and too limited to help design TVET delivery, making local skills shortages hard to address. As an urban area, Metro Manila (National Capital Region), where Jeremy lives, needs a greater variety of skills than rural areas like Basey, Samar (Region 8 of Visayas).
Changes in the landscape of work require identification of new skills in the job market "Director-General Danilo Cruz of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
“Changes in the landscape of work require identification of new skills in the job market, and that has been difficult due to a variety of factors, such as rapidly changing technology,” said the Director-General Danilo Cruz of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Analyses have yet to calculate supply and demand ratios by occupation. Such ratios would help TVET decisionmakers teach the skills needed to address the mismatch. Currently, TESDA is trying to fill this gap through area-based, demand-driven TVET planning and delivery.
“A strong labour market information system is predictive and provides learners with training linked to real job opportunities, benefiting businesses and helping policymakers decide employment and employment policies that are focused and targeted,” said Mr Lloyd Cameron, Economic and Climate Counsellor of the British Embassy in Manila.
The British Embassy believes that education and training must adapt to advances in science and technology, climate change and unpredictable events to develop the appropriate job-related skills.
In response, the Skills for Prosperity programme in the Philippines (SfP-Philippines), led by the ILO and funded by the United Kingdom government, has run pilot projects in Regions 6, 7 and 8 of Visayas since 2021 to develop practical capabilities to conduct skilled workforce demand analysis and TVET delivery planning.
The programme held pilot completion workshops in three regions and a national knowledge-sharing workshop in 2022 to share the results of skilled workforce demand analysis based on labour force surveys (LFS). These workshops offered findings on supply-to-demand ratios for skilled occupations and recommendations on how to close the gaps.
Regional TVET systems influence TVET delivery decisions, and the workshops made recommendations, including minor adjustments to expand detailed collection of LMI data nationwide.
Over a hundred officials from TESDA, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Public Employment Service Offices (PESO) and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) joined the workshops. National TVET experts and regional industry representatives participated.
Since March 2021, SfP-Philippines and TESDA have worked with international and national experts to analyse major statistical surveys in the Philippines, identify the LMI to be used, processed and interpreted, and provide introductory training to TVET staff in pilot regions.
The workshops are part of the programme’s collaboration with government, employers’ and workers’ organizations to enhance LMI, notably in occupational data collection and analysis on skilled workforce demand. Providing this vital information to national and regional TVET actors can achieve this goal.
The initiative also launched an e-learning institutional capacity building course for TESDA, DOLE, employers and workers.
Virtual workshops on regional analysis of market demand for skilled workforce and demand-driven TVET planning were held for nearly 400 TESDA regional officers, TVET administrators, labour market statisticians, public employment service officers and industry representatives from Visayas Regions 6, 7, 8 and other regions.
The capacity-building sessions helped participants analyse statistical data and use of methodology to predict regional skilled workforce demand.
The training was timely since TESDA has adopted area-based demand-driven TVET planning and delivery.
The programme also held an online national workshop on LMI requirements for demand-driven TVET planning for policymakers and administrators from TESDA, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), PSA, ILO, DOLE, PESO, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), regional agencies and social partner organizations.
Visayas still faces development challenges despite fast economic growth. Improving LMI can link skills development programmes to local economic development priorities and identify skilled labour demand.
The programme works with key public and private stakeholders to gather regional data, analyse employment structures, identify risks of skilled workforce shortages and surpluses, forecast labour demand and recommend better regional TVET design and delivery. The staff at TESDA, which will pilot the new methodology, will undergo intensive, advanced technical training in 2023.
“The programme will work closely with TESDA to increase its expertise on LMI fundamentals and apply innovative LMI-based methodology to better manage regional labour market demand and improve regional TVET systems,” concluded Cezar Dragutan, SfP-Philippines Chief Technical Advisor.
What is labour market information (LMI)?
LMI provides an essential basis for employment and labour policies, and informs the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of better-targeted policies. LMI also reduces transaction costs in labour markets and helps labour market agents compensate for incomplete information. It covers economic data and labour market assessments.
Timely, relevant and accurate LMI benefits
Improved future skills needs anticipation
Enhanced short-term forecast by occupation