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2018 Philippine Job Market Review

2018 Philippine Job Market Review

By Braulio Giron, Jr. on December 19, 2018

With notable highs and challenging lows, the Philippines’ job market and recruitment industry saw an eventful year that looks to carry on into 2019

While the Philippines’ 2018 can arguably be summed by words such as "politically tumultuous" or "inflation", there was more to the country than disappointing politicians and the even more disappointing rising prices of basic services and commodities.

For one, the Filipino workforce is often looked at as the physical representation of the resiliency which people of the country are known for, and in 2018, this resiliency was tested, and at times rewarded, with events that moved the associated job market and recruitment industry forward.


Job quality improves despite an increase in joblessness

A key example of how mixed a picture the job market is in the Philippines, the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) has reported that while that the country’s unemployment rate slightly increased by the end of the third quarter of 2018, the number of people who are underemployed had decreased.

Citing the early round of results for its October Labor Force Survey (LFS), the PSA reported that the country’s unemployment situation saw a slight dip from the past year, as the jobless rate rose to 5.1% (an estimated 2.2 million individuals) in October 2018, more than the recorded 5% in the same month in 2017.

On the other hand, the result of the October LFS also indicated that the quality of existing jobs improved, as the underemployment rate — the proportion of those employed but are still looking for more work or more working hours — decreased to 13.3%, or an estimated 5.5 million people. By comparison, underemployment was at 15.9%, or an estimated 6.6 million, in October of last year.


President Duterte certifies proposed law vs contractual employment as urgent

One of the major obstacles which has hampered the unemployment and underemployment situations in the Philippines has been contractual employment. "End-of-employment", or popularly referred to as "endo" or "5-5-5 (repeated employment lasting five months at a time), has been the ideal working situation for most Filipinos.

As such, the end of endo had been one of the major campaign promises made by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte as he ran for the position he now holds back in 2016. Unfortunately, despite a strong stance against endo since taking office in June of that year, the short-term, and in some instances illegal, type of employment has yet to be eliminated from the Philippines.

Despite the slow progress, a major step has purportedly been taken to stop endo. At the end of September this year, President Duterte had reportedly certified Senate Bill No. 1826, or the Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act of 2018. The law seeks to ban hiring workers for fixed-term arrangements or the end of contract scheme. The House of Representatives had previously approved its version of the bill on its third reading in January of this year.


Major Companies Regularize Thousands of Employees

Among the reasons for the slow progress of the elimination of contractual employment in the country has been the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), particularly it’s Department Order No. 174. Under the order, contractors which do not have substantial capital for tools or work premises are recognized as labor-only contractors.

Despite the seemingly self-imposed speed bump, DOLE still took steps to minimize contractualization, by way of intensified labor law compliance inspections in 2018. As a result, over 400,000 workers have reportedly been regularized, which DOLE says 65% of which were a result of voluntary changes made by employers, and the remaining resulting from compliance orders stemming from the previously mentioned inspections.

Among the notable companies who had regularized a multitude of employees this year had been SM Supermalls, which DOLE reported regularized 11,660 workers from January to September of 2018. Meanwhile, fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corporation, had regularized 1,000 workers within the same time frame, and promised to do so for more workers in the foreseeable future.


Notable Business Leaders Gather for HR Innovation Summit

Aware of the importance of effectively finding and retaining qualified talent through data and technology, notable business leaders gathered last September for the first-ever Asia HR Innovation Summit at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.

The summit served as a venue for representatives from various industries to share their experiences and ideas regarding the relationship of innovation with job security and company culture, how human resource and administrative processes can be improved through automation, and how all industries can and should prepare for the future of HR and recruitment.

The Asia HR Innovation Summit was presented by the Asia CEO Forum, the largest and only national business event series in the Philippines, and Kalibrr, Southeast Asia's leading provider of strategic recruitment solutions, and was participated in by some of the Asia Pacific region's most recognizable companies and promising startups. Among these were Adecco Group X, Hinduja Global Solutions, 3M Philippines, Cathay Pacific, and First Advantage.


Expanded Maternity Leave Act of 2018 Now Up for President’s Signature

With the number of paid maternity leaves in the Philippines last increasing in 1992, among the key laws that continued to be called for by Filipinos was one that would increase the mandated maternity leave for employed women. In early September, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 4113, which seeks to increase the number of days of maternity leave to 100.

It is 20 days short of the Senate's version of the bill, which was approved in March of 2017, and proposes 120 days of maternity leave, and an additional 30 days for solo working mothers. By October, both chambers ratified the bill, which would now grant 105 days of paid maternity leave to all working mothers, and is presently awaiting the signature of President Duterte.

Under this Expanded Maternity Leave Act of 2018, a total of 7 out of the 105 days of leave may be transferred to fathers, extending the latter’s paid paternity leave to 14 days. Solo working mothers, on the other hand, would also receive an additional 15 days of leave, for a total of 120 days of paid maternity leave. The bill would also allow mothers to extend their leaves for another 30 days, but these would be unpaid. All provisions would apply to all pregnancies.


Social Media Giant Launches Jobs Initiative in the Region

Arguably the most popular social media platform in the world, Facebook now features a job function which allows businesses to post job openings to a Jobs tab on their Page, Jobs dashboard, Facebook Marketplace, and the News Feed that they can promote with ads. On the other end, Facebook users in search of new jobs can discover vacancies, auto-fill applications with their profile information, edit and submit their information, and utilize Facebook messenger to communicate with hiring employers.

Facebook was first observed to be testing its jobs function in late 2016, and the next year, Jobs on Facebook launched in the United States and Canada. In 2018, the feature finally became available to other countries such as Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, as well as the Philippines and majority of the Asia Pacific, with the intent of helping the low-skilled job market have increased access to different vacancies around the world.

In Southeast Asia, Kalibrr became the first and only recruitment solutions provider to partner with the social media giant and integrate its job listings on the Jobs on Facebook platform. The integration is aimed at expanding employers’ reach, where their jobs posted on Kalibrr will reach candidates who are actively looking for work, and will be syndicated on Jobs on Facebook to reach talent who are not necessarily looking to apply for a job, but may consider new opportunities when chancing upon the openings on their favorite social media network.


Kalibrr is a technology company that aims to transform how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. Placing the candidate experience at the center of everything it does, the company continues to attract the best talents from all over, with 1.6 million professionals and counting. Kalibrr ultimately connects these talents to companies in search of their next generation of leaders.

The only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider in Southeast Asia, Kalibrr is headquartered in Makati, Philippines, with offices in San Francisco, California and Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2012, it has served over 18,000 clients, and is backed by some of the world’s most powerful start-up incubators and venture capitalists. These include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Patamar Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Kickstart Ventures.

For more information, visit Kalibrr on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.