Greater WFH adoption seen improving employment outlook

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By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

MORE remote and hybrid jobs will help boost employment this year with companies growing more flexible on work arrangements even with the easing of the public health emergency, according to the online job portal JobStreet.

“The market has reopened and as we’ve seen the number of ad postings and applications on our website (are) back to our 2019 or pre-pandemic situation,” Philip A. Gioca, country manager for JobStreet Philippines, told BusinessWorld in an interview last week.

“The difference is that the old roles and positions in 2019 are redefined now since remote work is now more prevalent.”

He said he is optimistic about employment improving this year.

The unemployment rate eased to a three-year low last year to 5.4%, the lowest since the 5.1% posted in 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic. 

Job quality was also at a three-year low as underemployment, an indicator of workers looking for more work, hit 14.3%, against the 14% recorded in 2019.

In September, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) revised the implementing rules and regulations of the Telecommuting Law to bolster protections for work-from-home (WFH) employees, should they decide not to work in the office.

Workers in a WFH scheme are not classified as field personnel, except when their hours of work “cannot be determined with reasonable clarity,” according to the revised rules.

In a study released by JobStreet on March 1, about 46% of respondents said they prefer hybrid work, 28% are looking for fully remote work, and 26% said they want to work on-site.

Mr. Gioca said the online job search platform is collaborating with the DoLE to study the employability of senior high school students.

The upcoming study will seek to determine where senior high school students best fit in the workforce and to find out whether they are landing high-quality jobs, he said.

“Now, employers in the Philippines are taking skills and attitude over educational attainment when seeking new hires, which is a great equalizer,” Mr. Gioca said.

“Graduates from the top schools now have to be driven differently when looking for work and take into account attitude and skills.”