Filipinos don’t want to work for construction anymore

Ralf Rivas
Filipinos don’t want to work for construction anymore
Over 2 million jobs are up for grabs as the government pushes for more infrastructure problems. However, Filipinos no longer want to get down and dirty, and would rather work in hotels abroad.

MANILA, Philippines – Philippines’ golden age of infrastructure seems to be lackluster for Filipinos. While there are millions of available jobs, Filipinos no longer want to work for construction.

“They find it dirty, difficult, and dangerous,” said Rosanna Urdaneta, deputy director general of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), during the sidelines of a public forum on Tuesday, June 4.

Urdaneta said Tesda allocated a big chunk of its scholarship funding for construction-related courses. However, the agency struggles to fill up a class.

“For you to have a cost effective program, you need 20 trainees. Sometimes, only 10 enroll, and if ever we reach 20, some already leave and get employed elsewhere,” Urdaneta said.

She said Filipinos prefer enrolling in courses related to hospitality and tourism, rather than the much needed construction skills.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself flagged the problem back in February.

Eh ‘yang ‘Build, Build, Build’, medyo atrasado nang konti. Walang trabahante (Build Build Build is a bit delayed do to a lack of workers),” Duterte said.

The Department of Trade and Industry previously said the shortage of construction workers reach as high as 2.5 million. 

The government intends to spend some P8 trillion for infrastructure projects. (IN CHARTS: PH employment rises in April over ‘Build Build Build’)

The surge of infrastructure projects reduced unemployment. As of April 2019, the number of unemployed was at 5.1%, lower than the 5.5% registered during the same period last year. This is equivalent to some 74,000 people getting jobs.

Of the total workers working in the industries sector, construction workers accounted for 52.1% as of April.  –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.