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ILO: PH workers facing double whammy

/ 05:18 AM December 17, 2020

About two-thirds of the 10.9 million Filipino workers who suffered complete job loss or pay cut due to reduced work hours during the COVID-19 pandemic also faced displacement by the online or digital commerce rush, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). A pandemic outlook report by the ILO estimated that more than 7.2 million workers in the country are vulnerable to the double whammy of job disruption from COVID-19 and digitalization. “COVID-19 is likely to accelerate digitalization in order to uphold health and safety measures while keeping economic activities running,” said the ILO’s Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2020 released on Wednesday. “However, the intersection of COVID-19 job disruption and destructive digitalization may exacerbate the risks faced by women and men in certain occupations,” it added.

About 10.9 million workers, or a quarter of the Philippines’ total employment, were impacted by COVID-19, either through decreased earnings and working hours or total job loss.

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Wholesale and retail trade, transportation and storage, construction, and accommodation and food services employed the largest number of workers disrupted by the pandemic, totaling about 7.8 million workers, according to ILO.

Collapsing occupations

“About two-thirds of the 10.9 million workers at risk of COVID-19-induced job disruption are in collapsing or machine terrain occupations, that is, facing high risk of destructive digitalization,” it said.

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This means more than 7.2 million workers are exposed to a double-tiered risk of job disruption, the ILO said.

Collapsing occupations, or jobs that are at high risk of destructive digitalization and low potential for transformative digitalization, dominate sectors that offer leisure-related services such as accommodation and food services and arts, entertainment and recreation. Workers in these sectors include waiters, cooks, kitchen helpers, food service counter attendants, street food salespersons, fast food preparers, bookmakers, croupiers and gaming workers, and cashiers and ticket clerks.

The ILO also said real estate administrative and support service activities, real estate managers, building caretakers, cleaners and helpers, security guards, contact center information clerks, and salespersons are among occupations facing the double-tiered risk for job disruption.

Vulnerable

Meanwhile the manufacturing and transportation and storage sectors are dominated by machine terrain occupations, or occupations facing high risk for destructive digitalization and high potential for transformative digitalization. Vulnerable machine terrain occupations include electrical and electronic equipment assemblers; sewing, embroidery and related workers; welders and flame cutters; tailors, dressmakers, furriers and hatters; supply, distribution and related managers; and drivers and freight handlers. In financial and insurance activities and scientific, professional and technical activities, the occupations that are at risk include bank tellers and related clerks, debt collectors, general office clerks, accountants, and accounting and bookkeeping clerks, according to the ILO.

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TAGS: digitization, Filipino workers, job loss
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