TO HELP address the concern on underemployment, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole)-Davao Region converges with the academe and other private companies to determine in-demand in the next four to five years.

As of January this year, the underemployment rate in the region is at 17.8 percent. This had decreased from the 21 percent underemployment rate of the region at 21 percent.

“This means that the employer has a job but it is not enough or the wage is not that assured and that they would still want another job. This is currently what we are focusing on and watching out for especially in developing areas because our turn-out is very fast,” said Dole-Davao focal person Marlito D. Ayala during the Kapehan sa Dabaw weekly press conference Monday, April 16.

Ayala said they are currently doing series of talks with different agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education (Ched), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). These series of talks led them to recognize that convergence is really a need to address mismatching of employment with the employees’ skills.

Ayala added that as for Dole, they have their program called Jobs Fit wherein they talk with different representatives of industries to confirm what type of jobs would they need and find in-demand within four to five years-time as well as their hard-to-fill-in jobs.

“We gathered these data and we plan to relay it to the academe. We want to orient them of the future in-demand jobs so that they will be able to prepare their students. It is difficult if they take courses that may not provide them jobs after graduation,” said Ayala.

He added they have met and have provided Labor Market Info to the network of guidance counselors which they can use to their students during career orientation and employment coaching in their respective schools. “This is for the students to have informed choices. They will be informed that the course they chose will provide them jobs upon graduation,” Ayala added.

Through this convergence, he said they have specifically learned that a Filipino teacher is in-demand thus taking up a course major in Filipino is also currently in-demand although it is not very much a trend.

He also said it is important that the students are informed of the soft skills that future employers will look for such as stress management, English proficiency, and leadership skills, among others.

However, even if the academe is very much willing to take part in this partnership and they have received the suggestion with full optimism, Ayala said they understand that it is not that easy for the schools to change their curriculum and fit it according to what is going to be in-demand for the next four to five years.

The academe, for their part, assured Dole that with this convergence, they are going to look for ways to help lessen the mismatching of employment.