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Automation, AI seen killing more PH jobs

Advances in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) over the next decade are poised to take a brutal toll on workers, especially those engaged in manual labor and low-skilled agricultural roles.

This was according to comprehensive study released by technology giant Cisco and Oxford Economics, which forecast that at least 1.1 million jobs in the Philippines will disappear by 2028 as rapid technological innovations force workers to adapt or go unemployed.

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In the Philippines, major areas of displacement are jobs in agriculture (1.2 million), wholesale/retail (880,000) and manufacturing (380,000). Overall, displaced workers will amount to 4.5 million, or over 10 percent of the workforce.

The study noted that other roles will open up as governments and companies retool the skills of their workers.

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It cited new jobs in wholesale/retail (1.3 million), transportation (490,000) and construction (460,000).

“Government needs to do more and so do citizens. Citizens also need to acknowledge that this is an investment that they are making toward lifelong learning,” Naveen Menon, Cisco president for Asean, told reporters in a recent briefing.

Menon noted, as an example, that as low-skilled agricultural roles disappear, there would be new opportunities for managers in the retail segment.

The Cisco-Oxford study was conducted across six Asean countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The goal was to build a model and quantify the impact AI-enabled technologies would have on workers through 2028.

The study noted that across the six economies, 28 million jobs would be displaced while 6.6 million roles would vanish or be considered redundant.

Menon said there was time for economies to begin preparing their workers, explaining that training for new skills could take around four years to complete.

Progress in the Philippines, however, could be slower due to unique factors such as regulatory constraints, “prolabor” policies, and the still relatively low cost of labor compared to some of its regional counterparts.

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Menon said these factors could affect the Philippines’ readiness to transition to the jobs of the future.

The study also identified the top areas where skills are mismatched.

It said 41 percent across the six Asean economies lack IT skills while 10 percent lack management skills.

The shortfall is also significant when it comes to so-called soft skills.

It said 1.9 million workers across the region will need interactive skills, such as negotiation and persuasion, while 1.7 million workers lack foundation skills, which includes speaking and writing.

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TAGS: artificial intelligence (AI), Automation, manual labor and low-skilled agricultural roles
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