On 26 February 2021, the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) formally launched the JobsFit COVID-19 Labor Market Information (LMI) Report: How the Pandemic is Reshaping the Labor Market during an online conference dubbed ‘Kapihan Media Forum’. The forum gathered panelists representing industry and employer associations, labor groups, national government agencies, and job boards, to provide comments and insights on the report.

In his opening remarks, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III emphasized the need for businesses, workers, and the public sector to work together to improve worker competitiveness and business productivity in the face of disruptions brought about by the pandemic. The release of the JobsFit COVID-19 LMI Report forms part of DOLE’s commitment to provide timely, relevant, and accurate labor market intelligence under the recently-signed National Employment Recovery Strategy, the whole-of-society action plan of the government to preserve and generate employment in the New Normal.

Philip Gioca, Country Manager of JobStreet Philippines; Ramon Certeza, National Project Coordinator of IndustriAll Global Union; Antonio L. Sayo, Governor of Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP); and Lina C. Sarmiento, Deputy Director General for TESD Operations of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) formed the panel of experts that gave commentary on the report’s findings. DOLE Assistant Secretary and Concurrent BLE Director Dominique Rubia-Tutay moderated the discussion.

Published in November 2020, the JobsFIt COVID-19 LMI Report is a mid-term update to the JobsFit LMI Report, focusing on the current labor market landscape, discussing the impact of COVID-19 on employment, and describing the future labor market in the “new normal”. Among its findings is the shift in top skills of jobseekers from soft skills like Negotiating, Analytical Thinking, or Problem Solving to technical proficiencies like Computer Literacy and Data Analysis.

Industries like business process outsourcing, information and communication, sales, and medical and healthcare, remain on top, reporting the highest number of vacancies. Emerging industries include the government sector, general services and utility, and accounting.

An open forum followed the discussion, with panelists responding to questions from the media in attendance. When asked how jobseekers can prepare for the opening of the labor market, Asec. Rubia-Tutay responded that, “We will strengthen our information dissemination campaigns to better inform jobseekers. We also conduct online career fairs and life skills training targeted towards the youth.”

The Department is hopeful the report will help inform recovery strategies being developed by both the private and public sectors in the gradual and safe reopening of the economy. According to Asec. Rubia-Tutay, “the insights provided by the JobsFit COVID-19 LMI Report shows a labor market landscape dramatically changed by the pandemic. Our efforts to preserve and protect employment and generate more jobs in this transformed economy must reflect those changes.”