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Companies Locating in Manila Philippines

By Lara Jane M Climaco

Companies locating in Manila Philippines would do well to look into training and development resources available in the country and work with government authorities on internship opportunities.

This is the best way to cope with people risks relating to the Philippines amid findings that Manila is a medium-high risk location for multinational employers, according to Alan Pang, director at Aon Consulting’s Global Research Center based in Singapore.

“For businesses as a whole, there are still common actions to take to address the risk level in Manila if it is the location where the companies are already operating or plan to operate,” he told Philippines News Agency in response to an email.

In its people risk study, Chicago-based Aon Consulting determined the 10 best and worst locations for employers among 90 countries surveyed. Toronto emerged as the lowest risk city in the world for employers, while Dhaka in Bangladesh posed the highest people risk.

Manila, with a score of 142, ranked 64th out of the 90 cities rated in the exercise, placing it a medium-high risk location. Its risk rating is also higher than the average for Southeast Asia.

Aon Consulting’s People Risk Index is based on 25 qualitative and quantitative factors that measure risks associated with demographics, education, government support, talent development, and employment practices. The best possible score is 25 and the worst, 250.

The study found Manila to have particularly high risk for education though it scored relatively well in the talent development area. Pang said mitigating factors in the overall assessment for Manila were its large population base, lack of aging problem, a sound regulatory framework on occupational health and safety, high adult literacy rate, and comparatively competitive retirement benefits.

“Despite having a bright demographic profile, Manila is plagued by severe brain drain which could seriously undermine its growth potential,” Pang said.

In a pioneering study released last June, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has actually identified the three main issues in the Philippine labor market to be a lack of experienced and highly skilled workers, school curricula that are not responsive to industry needs, and poor dissemination of labor market information.

The government is intent on fostering “a job-friendly economy that is equipped with the capacity to mitigate brain drain and the challenge of mismatch in the jobs available in industry and the skills of the labor force,” DOLE Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz earlier said in a press statement following the release of the Project Jobs Fit study that basically identified the key industries that would generate jobs for the country over the next 10 years and the ways to realize the potential in these industries.

One of the recommendations of the DOLE study is to provide incentives for multinational companies that establish “corporate universities” or in-house career opportunities for advancement. The study said the private sector had already initiated training services to address the skills deficiencies of their workers and have partnered with the academe on talent development strategies. It said business leaders wanted these efforts to translate to tax incentives.

According to Aon Consulting’s Pang, MNCs located or seeking to locate in Manila could mitigate existing people risks by exploring what training and development resources are available both internally and externally.

“Organizations can also work with the local government and education community to see what types of skills and knowledge training could be pushed into pre-employment curriculum, as this could reduce the time and effort in induction and job instruction once someone is brought on board,” he added.

On a regional scale, Manila fared better than Jakarta, Hanoi and Phnom Penh but scored worse than Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in the Aon Consulting study.

Singapore is a global best, with the third lowest risk rating in the world at 74, which makes it at par with London. In Asia and the Pacific, it is joined by Tokyo and Melbourne as the lowest people risk locations out of 32 Asia Pacific cities included in the global study. Dhaka, Phnom Penh and Karachi have been rated with the highest risk scores in the region.

Within the region, the Aon Consulting study said East Asian cities emerged with lower people risk scores than those in Southeast Asia, while South Asia came up with the highest people risk scores.

This year’s People Risk Index study is the first-ever done by Aon Consulting. It will be done again next year but clients would receive quarterly updates before then, Pang said. (PNA Features)

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