POLICY analysts are one in saying that revitalizing the local industries is crucial for the country to fully take advantage of the growing global demand for labor.

The imperative to reinvigorate local industries to profit from the global demand for labor reverberated throughout the stakeholders’ discussion on the findings of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business regarding labor market challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

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The 11-member team was commissioned by the Apec Council to examine the competitive challenges faced by APEC member countries as a result of the chronic rigidities in the international movement of workers.

The study shows that lack of training infrastructure alongside restrictive border security policies and high rates of worker placement fees are key hurdles for developing countries to fill in the job vacancies in developed economies.

Lito Soriano of LBS Recruitment Solutions could not agree more with the results of the study.

According to Soriano, the Philippines has not been able to fill in the employment needs abroad due to lack of qualified workers and inadequate training infrastructure that would allow workers to qualify for technical jobs overseas.

The country has failed to send out new batches of seamen for lack of training facilities to prepare new college graduates to qualify for jobs abroad, he noted.

Soriano likewise mentioned that while the country supplies more than 20 percent of seamen in international passenger and cargo vessels, these Filipino seafarers are still the same people who were just renewing their contracts.

The same can be said of Filipino nurses.

Soriano revealed that only 288 Filipino nurses were deployed last year when 10,000 nurses are needed in the U.S. alone and there are 200,000 licensed Filipino nurses in the country..

The figures churned out by Soriano did not surprise Doris Magsaysay Ho of ABAC Philippines and head of the Magsaysay shipping fleet.

You cannot expect the country to produce highly qualified workers when its manufacturing sector is hollowing out, Ho said.

What we need to do is to strengthen industrial competitiveness and tune up the quality of our education for global standards, she added.

Ho said the government should aggressively promote collaborative arrangements between the local industries and academic institutions to better align qualifications of graduates to industry needs.

This will lay the groundwork for creating globally competitive industries and workforces that will make the country an important player in the global market, she said.

The study indicates that of 42 FTAs signed by APEC member economies, 10 have no chapter on labor mobility, and while 28 of these FTAs contain provisions on the movement of business or natural persons, only seven have labor chapters.

It likewise noted that there is an immediate need for some 36 million skilled workers in the US and Canada, and 25 million workers in Russia. (Philexport News and Features)