Prioritizing job creation over wage hikes urged

Prioritizing job creation over wage hikes urged
Workers are seen constructing Marikina’s flood control projects on May 30, 2023, ahead of the rainy season.
Photos by Walter Bollozos / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Creating more jobs is a better way to improve lives than the proposed P350 minimum wage increase by the House of Representatives, according to Go Negosyo founder and Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Jobs Lead Joey Concepcion. 

Concepcion emphasized the importance of a growing economy for better employee well-being. 

More jobs will naturally lead to lasting wage increases as the economy expands, the Go Negosyo founder explained.

Pointing to sectors like nursing, where high demand results in higher wages, Concepcion expressed support to a long-term solution of upskilling and reskilling workers to make the Philippine workforce competitive in the ASEAN region.

“We will help our workers upskill and reskill because this will make Philippine labor competitive with our ASEAN neighbors,” he said. 

He added that a skilled workforce attracting foreign investments is seen as key to economic growth, leading to sustained job creation and wage growth.

Concepcion warned against relying solely on quick wage hikes to boost the economy, as it could negatively impact smaller businesses. 

“Eventually smaller companies cannot survive and they will close shop. Rather than having people with jobs, you will have people with no jobs,” Concepsion said.

He higlighted the need for a balanced approach that supports overall business growth.

The Go Negosyo founder also proposed letting regional boards handle the minimum wage adjustments, considering factors like inflation and living costs. 

He emphasized caution, especially for small businesses, as they make up a significant part of the economy.

“Business is not against giving wage increases but we have to be careful when we do it, and how we do it, especially considering our MSMEs comprise 99 percent of enterprises and generate more than half the jobs here. They cannot afford the wage increase because they are survival entrepreneurs,” Concepcion said.

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