Filipinos run the gauntlet to get employment abroad. When they get into another country, they suffer racial discrimination and various forms of abuse in the workplace.
Their luck is about to change.
Things are turning around in the labor front. Work from abroad is coming in, looking for Filipinos.
Reports say blue-collar jobs flow into the country as a result of de-industrialization in developed countries, which now outsource their manufacturing to developing nations that pay lower wages. Deindustrialization could result in a reverse diaspora of highly-skilled and hard-working Filipino workers coming back from different parts of the world.
In a country where the majority of the people are poor, a domestic jobs boom for skilled and semi-skilled workers could change the outlook of many Filipinos. Instead of aspiring to become lawyers, doctors and engineers, which require many years of expensive schooling, they just train for jobs that offer good pay in a blue-collar economy.
But it doesn’t mean the youth should give up their dreams of becoming professionals. Blue-collar employment could help them get into their desired professions. Many successful Filipinos worked their way through college and then into a brilliant career. A blue-collar economy would open similar opportunities for bright and hard-working Filipinos.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz says the employment level in the country has grown from 37.106 million in 2011 to 37.584 million in 2012 despite a jobs-skills mismatch. A growing number of job-seekers, including professionals, break out of the crowded market for white-collar jobs by learning new skills in vocational technology. “We have no exact figures of professionals taking up voc-tech courses, but we believe the number is rising,” Baldoz says.
Vocational technology includes training in such short-term courses as welding, refrigeration, machining, electrical technology, dressmaking, cooking, carpentry and computer hardware servicing. “There are tens of thousands of these jobs in the local economy, and job seekers are advised to arm themselves with appropriate labor market information before they venture into their dream jobs,” Baldoz adds.
Filipino workers should get out onto the streets in droves with marching bands and ati-atihan drumbeaters to welcome both white- and blue-collar jobs coming into the country. They should not allow these jobs to slip out to a neighboring country.