While the rest of the industrialized world continues to be affected by populations of advanced ages and declining productivity, the Philippines enjoys a very young population with unlimited potentials and talents that will propel the country to even greater heights while remaining relatively unaffected by global economic setbacks.
To note, the Philippines glows as probably having Asia’s youngest citizens with an average age of just 22. In comparison, many advanced Asian countries have much higher averages than the Philippines. 34 is the average age of a Singaporean, 36 in China, 39 in Taiwan, 40 in South Korea, and 43 in Hong Kong; thus affecting productivity for the short and long-term periods.
“This is the problem of all developed nations. There are more old than young. And this can impact on their national economies indefinitely,” cited Dr. Bernardo Villegas, senior vice president of the University of Asia and the Pacific.
Speaking during the Cebu Digital Transformation Summit 2016 as an important component of the Cebu Business Month 2016, Dr. Villegas took notice of the positive attitudes of the youth as they have proven to be energetic and eager to learn in face of management.
“Cost-effective, highly trainable, and good English proficiency” are just some of the terms he used to fittingly describe today’s talent pool, especially the college graduates which number around half a million annually.
This is especially evident overseas as Filipinos have more than proven themselves as highly capable, more notably in the fields of medicine, maritime, teaching, Information Technology, entertainment, and household help.
Likewise, Filipinos have the natural orientation and heart for customer service which have gone a long way in securing the trust and confidence of their supervisors especially in the fields of nursing, household help, and live entertainment.
“The country also produces 7,000 Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) yearly, adding to the quality pool of professionals,” Villegas observed.
On the other hand, the speaker also took notice of negative traits and practices in the business world, which may have negatively affected certain employees.
As an example, he disclosed that BPO workers are treated badly in terms of unhealthy working hours and conditions that have led to health deterioration, mental stress, strained family ties, and indulgence in vices.
There is a need to develop more humane practices for these employees, he recommended, since the situation has worsened and resulted in erratic job performance and high turnover rate.
Another issue is the middle-income trap that may need super-efficient infrastructure to compliment the upgraded needs and wants of the populace on another level.
Possible examples here are the demand for absence of brownouts, availability of more free Wi-Fi, and ultra-reliability of electronic gadgets to cope with the demands of a more sensitive market.
Also needed is the full adaption of the K-12 educational program in order to produce high-quality tertiary graduates en route to more prepared and well-rounded college students.
Dr. Villegas has been an economic consultant to several presidents. He has also authored several books and a member of the board of directors or advisory boards of leading national and multinational firms.
By RICHARD RAMOS