A US$300 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the Philippine government will help the country’s youth find jobs by funding training and development services.

Unemployment rates in the Philippines rose this year, according to the country’s Labor Force Survey, to 6.6 per cent from 5.7 per cent in 2016.

“The Philippines has a young population with an average age of 25 years. Therefore, creating jobs for youth is vital to reducing poverty and income inequality,” said Kelly Bird, director for the public management, financial sector, and trade division of ADB’s Southeast Asia department.

Recruiters and HR experts recommend training programmes and internships as strategies to deal with youth unemployment, while the job market is also facing a shortage of skills in the digital field and risk and compliance sectors, according to Robert Walters Philippines. This skills shortage presents an opportunity for jobseekers to get the right kind of training and meet employers’ demands.

Jobstreet.com said that as well as posting jobs online, hirers should place internships or on-the-job-training vacancies.

“Hirers consider internships one of the top factors affecting a graduate’s employability,” said Jobstreet.com's Philippines country manager, Philip Gioca.

He added that employers must consider how they can create a better internship experience.

“From the stereotypical administrative tasks, employers can now have interns as project leaders as well as brand ambassadors,” said Gioca.

Robert Walters Philippines' country manager Eric Mary said that working professionals were likely to have greater choices in employment as more companies were setting up in the country. But for unemployed young people, International Youth Foundation's (IYF) Peter Shiras said employers should invest in specialised training programmes, which could also be designed to improve the skills of existing workers.

IYF's work in the Philippines spans more than 10 years and covers programmes that include education and livelihood training, as well as the use of technology in education. Shiras believes that learning, whether for apprentices, interns, or existing employees, should continue and be a lifelong endeavour, which means employers should invest in keeping up with latest developments in the work environment.

On skills development, Mary said there is a shortage of skills in automation, cloud-hosted application development, mobile development, digital transformation, data analytics and risk and compliance.

Mary also said HR needed a career development plan for employees that is communicated efficiently. Another way to retain and attract talent is to have hiring managers work on competitive compensation and benefits scheme, rather than focusing solely on salary, he added.

Jobstreet's 2016 Job Happiness Index Report said that while Filipinos were the happiest employees in Asia, certain factors in the workplace could lead them to look for better job opportunities.

“For fresh graduates, it’s low salary. For junior executives, it’s poor benefits. For supervisors and managers, it’s lack of training and development programmes,” said the report. “And when asked what would make them happier, their top answers are: a salary increase, a new job, or a promotion.”

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