A peek into labor demand in Q3 2011 and what the data implies

Scanning the latest available data for labor market demand as indicated by vacancies posted at Phil Job Net, you can understand why there is brain drain in the country. The top three vacancies posted at the site were for, clerks (33%) followed by laborers and unskilled workers (15%) and trade and related workers (12%). Demand for professionals was at 9% and for management positions, 5%.

Source: Labor Market Intelligence Report Q3 2011. TESDA.

This information, confirming by the way my observation of the ads for jobs in Baguio City which I’ve written about earlier in this blog, contrasts with the supply of labor, a proximate indicator being the year on year employment prospect of graduates which is far from rosy. Labor supply is swamped with professional- and managerial-level knowledge and skills but demand is for clerks. Which can explain why we see college and university graduates cashiering at the malls. And yes, in call centers taking calls in the dead of the night from people in another world and time zones asking how they can fix the what-brand-is-that microwave. Rather than starve.

I can’t remember now who I heard it from but a few years back there was critique made against the Philippine education about educators and parents unreasonably driving the children to go into professional and managerial four- and five-year courses when the real world at least in this country hasn’t a thriving market for these. And so young people “end up” getting another course in order to be more marketable, etc. Or, the more market intelligent ones take up at the onset courses that are in demand, but abroad.

On the other hand, relative to the policy recommendation of matching skills to market demand, I don’t think many young people or middle-aged professionals in transition would want to be clerks and laborers.

There simply is no rosy labor market here, this is essentially what the data reveal. As what experts have been saying for so long. So what to do? But surely we can’t sit by and let all the young and the able be pied piepered out of town can we?

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