DOLE creates TWG to formulate measures on mission-critical skills

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz recently created a technical working group within the DOLE to formulate specific measures for Philippine industries to retain mission critical skills, and thus, boost the country’s competitiveness.

"Since last year, the DOLE has been implementing a package of policy and program reforms to improve the DOLE’s institutional capacity to effectively and efficiently address issues and concerns in the labor market. One of these is brain drain," she said.

To squarely address the issue, Baldoz last week constituted a technical working group headed by Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz and composed of Philippine Overseas Employment chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac as vice chairman, and Institute for Labor Studies executive director Cynthia Cruz; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority executive director Ma. Susan dela Rama; Bureau of Local Employment director Criselda Sy; POEA director Nini Lanto; and Professional Regulation Commission director Rhoda S. Gliane, as members.

Baldoz said the technical working group will look into the concerns of some companies about their losses of highly-skilled workers to overseas employers which threaten or undermine their capability to meet the demand of their global customers.

"These companies have brought to our attention the alleged predatory hiring practices of some foreign employers that specifically target sensitive and highly-skilled Filipino workers by offering them fantastic salaries without due and proper notice," said Baldoz.

One such company, Moog Controls Corporation, a Philippine branch of the New York-based company specializing in the production and repair of servo-actuators and other high performance precision control systems for aerospace and industrial use and primary flight control surfaces of commercial airliners.

He has met with Baldoz and informed her that the company has lost about 48 of its highly-trained CNC (computer numerical control) machinists to unethical recruiters through predatory hiring.

Baldoz said it takes Moog Controls Corporation, which is based in the Baguio Export Processing Zone, four to five years in specialized training of CNC machinists to gain capability in their highly-specialized field.

"That involves a high cost of investment in manpower development," Baldoz said.

In constituting the technical working group, Baldoz said its task is to formulate an analytical framework to determine the level of skills supply and demand in a particular industry and identify occurrence of shortage of mission-critical skills.

"We have to know which other industries have the same concerns and level of shortages as Moog; and whether we can use a standard criteria, such as core necessity of the skill(s) for the industry, the period of time to produce or replace those skill(s), and the difficulty of replacing those skill(s), in ascertaining the occurrence of shortage of mission-critical skills in other industries," Baldoz said.

She also tasked the group to monitor the criticality level of skills among industries and to recommend measures to assist the industries employing mission-critical skills and experiencing shortages of these skills to regain viability.

The technical working group, Baldoz further explained, is expected to study and analyze supply and demand of mission-critical skills; educational and technical requirements; cost and duration of training and availability of training centers; and salaries and benefits of holders of such skill(s).

Baldoz said the technical working group will also study the proposal to impose a moratorium on the approval of overseas employment certificates of sensitive mission-critical skills holder intending to work overseas and the requirement of a longer period of notice, say six months, for mission-critical skills holder leaving their present employment.

She also said she had already tasked Administrator Cacdac to call the attention of some foreign employers who have hired Filipino workers with mission-critical skills about their alleged predatory hiring practices.

"We need to have a system of retaining talents to be able to compete and assure foreign investors, particularly high technology companies wanting to invest in the Philippines, that we have adequate supply of the workers they may need," Baldoz said.

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