69 percent say jobs hard to find – SWS

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
69 percent say jobs hard to find � SWS
Individuals wear face masks along the streets of Manila on May 9, 2023.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — While about half of adult Filipinos believe that there will be more jobs in the next 12 months, a majority think that it is difficult to secure employment these days, recent poll findings showed.

The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from March 26 to 29 found that 69 percent of the respondents said that it is hard to find a job nowadays.

Some 11 percent said it was easy while 16 percent said it was neither easy nor hard. The remaining four percent said they do not know.

The SWS said finding a job “has always been hard” for Filipinos since 2011, based on available survey data.

A graph it released yesterday showed that it stayed at 60 percent to 80 percent over the past 12 years. It peaked at almost 90 percent at the height of the pandemic, before dropping to 70 percent last year.

Meanwhile, the latest survey also found that 50 percent of the respondents believe that there will be more jobs in the next 12 months.

Some 10 percent said there will be fewer jobs, 26 percent said there will be no changes, while 14 percent said they do not know.

“Since 2009, except during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipinos have been more optimistic about job availability,” SWS said.

Optimism regarding job availability dropped to less than 20 percent in 2020 and 2021 at the height of the lockdowns, with more respondents saying there would be fewer jobs in the next 12 months.

SWS’s 2023 First Quarter Survey had 1,200 respondents and a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

Job creation

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling for sustainable and dynamic job creation to address the prevalent issues of poor job quality and lack of full employment in the country.

In a statement, the TUCP emphasized the need for concrete actions and a shift from precarious work to permanent, decent jobs.

It cited the latest SWS survey, showing 8.7 million adult Filipinos, constituting 19 percent of the labor force, were unemployed as of March 2023.

It also noted Philippine Statistics Authority data on a combined unemployment and underemployment rate of 15.9 percent, with 7.86 million Filipinos either out of work or seeking additional employment due to insufficient wages.

With this, the TUCP urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to fast-track the long-overdue Labor and Employment Plan (LEP), which is expected to be presented in June.

“We badly need that playbook towards living wages, permanent decent jobs and public sector job creation,” stated the TUCP.

The TUCP also stressed the need for a paradigm shift, emphasizing that the government cannot solely rely on the reopening of the economy and the private sector for job creation.

The group proposed the adoption of the “TUCP Jobs Agenda” as a roadmap for inclusive growth and building a fairer society. 

The TUCP put forth several recommendations, including the establishment of a national railway system connecting agri-industrial hubs to promote rural development, job creation and wealth distribution.

They also advocated for a sustainable industrial policy that aligns priority sectors with available skills based on comparative advantages. — Rhodina Villanueva

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