Construction labor shortage alarms DOLE

from December 28, 2018 01:00 am to December 28, 2018 01:00 am

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said construction firm DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) has sought its help as the company needs to hire some 6,000 to 7,000 workers.

The revelation was made by Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, who also lamented the difficulty in hiring local construction workers, most of whom have opted to work overseas.

“We are maximizing the training of construction workers because we already have a shortage of construction workers. It’s so hard, even if you try in your own neighborhood. It’s hard to look for plumbers, carpenters, welders,” said in a Palace briefing on Thursday.

The labor chief reiterated that the government will conduct a job fair in Saudi Arabia to entice Filipino construction workers to come home because they are needed in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

Bello also said the DOLE is working closely with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to address the job mismatch problem; and the Department of Education to train potential labor entrants, particularly through its K to 12 program.

The DOLE undertook these initiatives after a study it conducted revealed that 3 out of every 10 young job applications lack the essential “soft” skills needed by employers.

“Soft skills” are defined as personal attributes, personality, traits, inherent social cues and communication abilities needed for success on the job.

Because of this, the DOLE said many firms are unable to fill up their available vacancies, prompting many of them to put up their own socioemotional skills training.

The department had earlier said they are trying to address these problems through programs, such as Jobstart, to give the youth soft-skills training.

The labor chief also revealed during the briefing that the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) has made an initial commitment of regularizing 40 percent of the employees of its member-companies.

“When we received that communication, I was shocked…because this is a big development. No less than the employers themselves are offering to regularize employees and they’re starting with 40 percent of their employees. This is unexpected,” Bello said.

However, he said they still need to thresh out some details as they still have to know how soon Ecop will be able to regularize the rest of their employees.

“Hopefully, we can receive a response from them and find out how soon they intend to regularize all their employees,” Bello said.

In exchange for this, the DOLE said they will declare a moratorium on inspections once the government and employers agree on a regularization plan.

Bello has also reported that more than 411,000 contractual workers were regularized by their employers as of September.