EMPLOYERS said it is an urgent matter for companies to invest in upskilling employees, noting that low-skill and medium-skill professions are at risk from automation.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) Director General Jose Roland A. Moya said establishments should take the initiative to reskill and upskill their workers, which are helpful to the workers as they keep afloat amid digitization risks in the work force. A work force trained for the future will also be key in meeting company objectives.

“There is a need for employers to invest in life-long learning… and enterprise-based training… It is a good investment because skills development is the core of any development efforts of the company,” he said.

He added that skills need to be enhanced since new jobs have emerged in response to the growing transformation to artificial intelligence, while more have yet to be created.

Lalo na ngayon may mga bagong trabaho na nage-evolve, kailangan ng reskilling, upskilling. At ang nangangailangan ng bagong i-hire na workers ang panibagong skills (Now that there are new jobs that are evolving, we need to do reskilling and upskilling and even newly hired workers need new skills),” Mr. Moya said.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) report “Work for A Brighter Future” by its Global Commission on the Future of Work launched earlier this year, technological advancements may create new jobs but will also lead to job losses as industries transition to full digitization.

The report also noted that stakeholders must adapt a “human-centered agenda for the future of work,” which involves enhancing workers’ capabilities and knowledge in order to cope with the rapid changes brought upon by technological advancement.

As the workplace evolves to a more digitized environment brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, routine jobs or low-skilled occupations will not only be threatened by automation, but also jobs requiring some skills.

“The sector that will be affected by the future of work will be jobs that are routine in nature so mostly low-skilled. Even the medium-skilled, if they do not do upskilling, will also be affected,” Mr. Moya said.

Mr. Moya added that employers are currently in talks with the government to come up with solutions to the potential disruption caused by automation.

During his speech at the ILO convention earlier this month, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said that the Department of Labor and Employment is studying the effects of automation on the work force and is pledging to come up with upskilling initiatives. — Gillian M. Cortez