Strong private sector support needed to generate high quality jobs

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has underscored the need for a stronger support from the private sector in the creation of high-quality and sustainable jobs to improve the lives of Filipinos.
 
“The private sector holds the key to the generation of high-quality and sustainable jobs that our country needs. A stronger coordination of the government and the academe with them will help us address the unemployment problem that the country is facing,” said Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan.
 
Balisacan told a recent forum organized by the Ayala Foundation that the rate of unemployment is very high, even among college graduates.
 
In January 2013, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported that 608,000 people were added to the labor force from the same month last year.
 
However, the number of the employed increased only by 606,000, which means that about 2,000 people were added to the ranks of the unemployed. 
 
“The rate of unemployment is very high among college graduates, which partly reflects a mismatch between what is produced by schools and what is required by the market. This also shows that there is insufficient conversation between the schools and the firms,” said Balisacan.
 
“The government is focusing on providing a catalytic mechanism for the private sector to create these jobs. This is because government resources are limited, with competing demands from various sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, and national security.”
 
“Government actions should not substitute for the actions of the private sector. We do not want to solve the unemployment problem with a band-aid solution to create jobs,” said Balisacan.
 
The government is looking into expanding employment opportunities in several priority sectors. These include agri-business, manufacturing, tourism, IT-Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), housing, infrastructure, and logistics.
 
“These opportunities can be enhanced through increasing the employability of new job entrants through proper and sufficient training. But higher education institutions must also be encouraged to foster tie-ups with businesses and industries, aside from the government,” said Balisacan.
 
He cited current government programs that train new graduates such as the Government Internship Program, Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) and apprenticeship programs with the private sector.

Filipino consumers among top tippers in Asia

Philippine consumers are among the top prevalent tippers in the Asian region, according to the latest MasterCard’s survey of consumer dining habits across the 27 markets.
 
The other top tippers in the Asian region are consumers from Bangladesh and Thailand, the most generous when it came to tipping in the same survey last year.

Markets where consumers are tightening their purse strings with regard to tipping include Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
 
In addition, before dining, more than one-third of consumers regularly look for online reviews before making dining out decisions. Asia’s most advanced tech markets lead the region with Taiwan, Japan and Singapore most reliant on online reviews when selecting where to eat out.
 
The survey noted that in the emerging markets in the region — Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh — consumers still prefer recommendations from family and friends.
 
Interestingly, after dining, Chinese, Malaysian and Thai consumers are the most likely to post reviews on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, with about 1 in 2 respondents in these markets reporting that they regularly post comments online following their dining experience.
 

 In terms of spending, Singaporeans take the lead as the region’s top spenders on dining, with an average monthly dining spend of US$262. Japanese and Chinese consumers follow closely behind with an average monthly dining spend of US$225 and US$203 respectively.

 
In contrast, the region’s smallest spenders – India and Indonesia – spent only US$17 and US$19, or 3% and 4% of their monthly household income on dining respectively.

 
 
“There are big differences between the various cultures in the Asia-Pacific region and their tipping habits, and it’s always interesting to see how this is reflected in the research. It is also interesting to see the convergence of the growing online connectivity of Asia/Pacific consumers and their passion for food,” says Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia-Pacific of MasterCard.
 
“Food blogs are playing an increasingly influential role in Asia’s food scene, turning both locals and tourists alike to the best eats in town and placing lesser-known eateries on the radar of the keen, tech-savvy diners.”
 
Going online to check for credit card promotions available also remains popular, particularly in markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and China where about 1 in 2 respondents do so regularly. Across Asia/Pacific, however, the frequency drops slightly to an average of one in four markets.