Is the Philippines headed for a rebound?

Analysts forecast jobs and salary growth for 2021

Is the Philippines headed for a rebound?

The results of two industry reports point to better days ahead for the Philippine job market with recruitment expected to pick up and companies looking to raise salaries this year. The news comes as the country is predicted to exit recession in the first quarter.

One of the first signs of stability in the local talent market: 80% of employers plan to increase, or at least maintain, headcount in 2021, according to the Talent Trends 2021 report of recruitment firm Michael Page Philippines. Overall, more than a third of companies are getting ready to hire this year (35%) while nearly half are retaining the same size of workforce, with no plans for job cuts, in the foreseeable future (45%).

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“We are seeing positivity increase across the board with regards to recruitment and hiring in the Philippines,” said Olly Riches, managing director of Michael Page Indonesia & Philippines. “While the country’s e-commerce and logistics sectors aren’t as developed as other Asia Pacific markets, the traditional consumer markets have remained robust and are assisting in the economic recovery.”

The talent report identified the following sectors as having the highest potential for increased hiring:

  • Ecommerce
  • Financial services
  • Health care and life sciences
  • Technology and telecommunications
  • Fast-moving consumer goods

“Acquiring and retaining high-potential talent will be crucial to enable companies to build sustainable operations to position for future growth,” Riches said.

Meanwhile, a report from Willis Towers Watson forecasts 82.4% of employers in the Philippines will raise salaries this year. The average rate of increase is estimated to be 5.6%, according to the firm’s Salary Budget Planning Survey.

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“After a difficult year for employers and employees – battling lockdowns, employee safety issues, working from home and declining revenues – many employers are finding ways to handle the crisis better, manage their businesses and help their employees with a more focused work and reward strategy,” said Patrick Marquina, head of talent and rewards (Philippines) at Willis Towers Watson.

“While there is certainly more optimism this year [among] employers and employees alike, the recovery for many hard-impacted businesses would not be smooth sailing,” Marquina said.

“Companies will continue to experience smaller salary budgets this year. Therefore, it is important for employers to differentiate their allocation of pay rises, so that they can provide meaningful salary increases for their best and most valuable talent, and prioritise spending on jobs that are likely to contribute the most to the success or survival of their businesses.”

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