By Jimeno Damaso

A study commissioned by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions-Asian and Pacific Regional Organisation (ICFTU-APRO)


I. The Youth in Transition

Almost half of all unemployed workers in the Philippines belong to the 15-24 years bracket, while 21% of all employed workers are young.

There are almost 16 million Filipinos who are in the youth sector, of whom 8.2 million are in the labor force, 6.1 million are in school and 1.7 million are neither in the labor force nor in school.

The most significant segment of the youth population are 1.7 million unemployed young workers. Unemployment among young workers is almost 27% while the average rate for the entire labor force is 10%.

Labor participation rates among the young, especially among women, have been increasing, the current rate is 51.4%. This trend has occurred in parallel with increasing school enrollment rates (close to 60% for those 15-19 years old and 25% for those 20-24 years old).

The youth in general are more mobile, especially women who have higher mobility indicators than their male counterparts.

II. Unemployment Among the Young

Almost 65% of unemployed young workers have at least completed high school.

Young workers who are college graduates have the highest unemployment rate ( over 26%), while high school graduates have the second highest unemployment proportion (13.6%).

General skepticism among young workers over finding a job is significant (44%). Those who are unemployed because they are waiting for “job recall or rehire” represent more than 25% of all unemployed. The latter represent the population of “rotating” young workers who live from one contractual employment episode to another.

Employment preparation as a process for young workers needs to be enhanced. The quality of education, and the content of popular training courses, are perceived to be major handicaps within the process. The mismatch between the supply of graduates and the actual demand in the labor market is critical in many categories.

III. Problems of Employed Young Workers

Employed young workers are mostly absorbed by small family-based enterprises in the rural areas. Only 13% of young workers are employed in enterprises with at least 10 workers.

Some 46% of young workers in these enterprises are in Services. Another 46% are in Manufacturing.

The estimated proportion of young workers who are minimum wage earners is estimated at 70%.

Workers have problems relating to contractualization (18% in garment factories, 10% in others), maltreatment by supervisors (30%), and non-remittance of SSS contributions (27%), among others.

Housing is a common problem among Metro Manila-based young workers, since almost 50% the general population are considered “squatters”.

The price and quality of food that are available to young workers is also a cause of concern.

Debt-dependence is highly significant, as it is a major coping strategy for young workers.

Pollution and traffic are everyday problems that increase stress in the lives of young workers.

IV. Social Problems
Young workers are vulnerable to problems of alcoholism, smoking and drug use. Many are far removed from their families and do not have a wide range of wholesome recreational choices.

Changing moral standards among the young are reflected in the relatively high proportion of sexually active male (30%) and the incidence of reproductive health problems mostly among women (24%).

Criminality is a problem among the young, both as offenders and victims.

The age of migrating youth toward big cities is getting younger, and there is a general lack of programs assisting them. Cases of abuse and exploitation of young migrant workers are considerably high, both locally and abroad.

V. Key Recommendations
To improve the welfare of young workers, especially the “out-of-work” youth, there is an urgent call for reforms within the educational system.

Job creation must also be addressed, especially at the countryside.

Work-specific problems of young workers must also be given due attention.
Government and private sector initiatives must be strengthened in assisting the Out-of-Work Youth.

In addition, fresh attention must be given to a sub-sector that is not adequately defined as yet – the 1.7 million who are not in the labor sector and not within the school system.

For complete text, and for other youth-related concerns, please write or call: TUCP Youth Department at (632) 922 0917.

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