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Manpower Employment Registry Online (MEROn)
Abstract (150 words or less)
The demand for manual laborers in a diverse range of business ventures like manufacturing, construction, household help, and maintenance among others remains comparatively invariable. Here in the Philippines there seems to be a big problem regarding issues of unemployment and the blue-collar sector – there is a need for manual laborers but the workers themselves do not seem to get reached by the employers who have a necessity for them. MEROn is an employment registry system that will be made available online and will bridge the information gap between the employers and the jobseekers. Because the goal of MEROn is to be in close proximity to the target market, it shall be located in local barangay halls for greater accessibility. MEROnwill provide a user-friendly computer system interface built with a specialized software for a convenient application process.
With the advent of numerous technological advances in today’s modern world, a lot of business enterprises might have thanked the invention and development of machineries and other helpful equipment that have undoubtedly made the modern man’s life a lot easier. Even so, the demand for manual laborers in a diverse range of business ventures like manufacturing, construction, household help, and maintenance among others remains comparatively invariable. The need for blue-collar workers1 never seems to disintegrate, as there are still a lot of companies and even small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are in need of such laborers for the course of their normal operations. Some of these laborers are indispensable only on a contractual basis, some are essential for regular working hours. However, here in the Philippines there seems to be a big problem regarding these issues – there is a need for manual laborers but the workers themselves do not seem to get reached by the employers who have a necessity for them.
Unemployment is vaguely defined in the context in the Philippines, because even the very humble earners who have very frail spending powers but are able to earn hard cash in any amount even on a day-to-day basis are already considered employed in their own rights. Unemployment rates in the Philippines are relatively high, given that the operational definition of unemployment seems to be erroneous and inappropriate of circumstance. Unemployment rate2 in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Philippines in general is rather high though the government census statistics reports a continuous annual decline in unemployment rates. The figure below shows us that while the unemployment rates have been on a constant decline since the end of year 2005, from 7.3% in 2008 however, unemployment rate has then again risen to 7.7% this year.3
Unemployment rate (%)
Fig.1 Unemployment Rates in the Philippines
With the relatively high unemployment rate in the NCR, there is a need to identify possible mitigating factors. Fact is, there are many existing job opportunities in Metro Manila; there is just an information gap between the employers and their potential employees, especially with regards to the blue collar sector. The existing information gap between employers and jobseekers is possibly caused by many factors such as ineffective use of technology and improper advertising and promotions.
Because of such problem, we are proposing MEROn – an employment registry system that will be made available online. MEROn shall target the blue-collar segment of our nation’s labor force. This includes workers in manufacturing, constructions, household help, and maintenance settings to mention a few. The blue-collar sector comprises the majority of the Philippine labor force, constituting 7 out of every 10 of its members. As already mentioned earlier, there exists an information gap between these workers and employers who are in need of them – workers do not know where to find these jobs, employers do not know where to look for workers.
The existing information gap between employers and jobseekers is caused by many factors. In Table 1, applicants, both men and women alike, think no work is available which prevents them from actually look for jobs. This belief could have been spurred by the inaccessibility to different media and networks that could help them apply for jobs. Blue-collar and other skilled jobseekers are affected by this belief because compared to professionals and college-degree holders, they have less access to channels such as the internet, newspaper, agencies, etc. that could help them apply for jobs. The lengthy waiting time for previous job application is also another reason that stops them to look for jobs. This breeds the information gap between the employers and employees because they are stuck with their previous job applications. Without their knowledge of existing job vacancies where in they could pour their efforts, their unemployed status is prolonged. Other reasons such as temporary illness/disability and bad weather magnify the information gap. These factors prevent the applicant from job searching which actually involves a lot of effort from the jobseeker.
Table 1. Unemployed Persons by Reason for Not Looking for Work
The information gap between manual laborers and their employers is further magnified by the following data: from 1994 to 2004, the average wages increased by 44% for blue-collar workers and by 52% for white-collar workers. In 1994, the average wages of white-collar workers were 34% higher than those of blue-collar workers, and in 2004 the differential had increased to 43%. The minimum wage rate in NCR (for non-agriculture) is Php345 to Php382, as per latest Department of Labor and Employment data. The demand for industrial and blue-collar staff dropped sharply in 2007, and demand was weak for the most of 2008. The number of blue-collar jobs in the construction sector decreased in 2008; however, some recruiters say that there has been a degree of respite in the manufacturing industry because some employers have reversed their earlier outsourcing decisions. Since the manufacturing sector accounts for more than 40% of the job vacancies and the construction sector accounts for just about 6%, whatever decrease in the number of blue collar jobs in the construction sector would be more than offset by the demand in the manufacturing sector. The skill shortage has itself been based on three factors: inadequately educated and trained young people; cutbacks in graduate recruitment in a number of sectors; and the retirement of a generation of people. Skill shortages remain endemic in the engineering, technology, and IT sectors. In the education and healthcare sectors, shortages of well-trained staff have also been acute. This explains why the recruitment industry does not want controls on workers to be too tight: an exploitable advantage on the part of MEROn.
Another reason is that organizing job fairs in malls will be costly to both the malls and the jobseekers as well, as job-seeking expenses are relatively high and may include a lot, if not all, of the following: local travel expenses (e.g. bus, jeepney, taxi fares), out of town travel (e.g. airfares, railway fares, bus, taxi, telephone, etc.), meals, and other expenses like phone calls, resume printing, employment and placement fees, postage, photocopies, stationery, and additional miscellaneous expenses.
Because we want to be in close proximity to our target market, MEROn will locate itself in local barangay halls for greater accessibility. MEROnwill provide a user-friendly computer system interface built with a specialized software for a convenient application process that will be set up in key areas (i.e. local barangayhalls and/or city halls). Our unique selling propositions include proximity and accessibility to target market, cost minimization assurance both in the application cost of the jobseeker and the recruitment cost of the employer, a user-friendly system interface and a regularly updated database, high quality work of potential employees, and of course, product and service innovation.