Shianee Mamanglu of the Manila Bulletin reports that the deployment of overseas Filipino workers will face enormous pressure in the next 10 years unless government and concerned stakeholders address the challenges posed by the graying of the OFW population workforce, the recruitment sector warned Sunday.
At the same time, the industry said the continuing drop in the pool of new and qualified workers could result in the decline of manpower sources for work overseas in the next decade.
“Government authorities in partnership with the industry and all sectors concerned must start to address the challenges posed by the graying OFW population as it could post long-term political and economic implications for the country,’’ said Lito Soriano, head of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters Inc.
“This ageing of OFW workforce is a cause for concern, and so is the lack of qualified skilled manpower. In the future, it is apparent that we will just be deploying rehires abroad because we are not producing qualified new hires,’’ he told the Manila Bulletin.
Citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Soriano said the number of rehires has gradually increased since 2005, with the highest increase recorded in 2008 at 20 percent or 597,426 compared to 497,810 in 2007.
In 2009, the number of rehires was still high at 666,158 as compared to 559,809 in 2008.
On the other hand, the number of new hires plunged by 7.6 percent or 346,871 in 2008 to 320, 508 in 2009.
“This only implies that we have a low number of new OFWs entering job markets particularly in the Middle East due to lack of qualified workers,’’ said Soriano.
Rehires comprised 47 percent of the deployment of OFWs from 2001-2008 while new hires comprise only 29 percent of this, it was learned.
In addition, Soriano said the POEA has yet to fill over 300,000 job orders as the recruitment industry is only able to fill 40 percent of accredited job orders from Middle East countries.
He noted that various positions in the oil industry, including oil production engineers and oil riggers, are highly sought after but are difficult to supply due to its stringent prerequisites.
Although the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) have intensified efforts to produce trained manpower like welders and other skilled workers, Soriano said the lagging economy and insufficient construction activity have failed to produce sufficient experienced manpower that can be deployed abroad in the coming decade.
Meanwhile, Soriano urged business taipans to invest their money in light and manufacturing industries as it could provide permanent jobs to new workers.
The recruitment official lamented a study released recently by the International Labor Organization (ILO) which said that employment prospects could be bleak for graduating college students and other young workers owing to the global financial crisis.
He previously asserted that big universities and colleges now owned by taipans are just offering “unemployable courses” resulting in “unemployable graduates.” Source: Manila Bulletin