Business supports employees despite falling revenues -- survey

Almost all businesses supported their workers during the pandemic even as lockdowns slashed sales, closed operations, and prevented some employees from working in the first year of COVID-19, according to a survey conducted in the second quarter.


The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), and Makati Business Club (MBC) reported that a survey coordinated by MBC and processed by the Philippine Survey and Research Center (PSRC) showed that 99 percent of 200 executives said their companies provided support to their regular employees.

About 71 percent of surveyed companies said they provided support to their contractual employees and 65 percent to their agency employees during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted from April 6 to May 16 by organizations who had signed the MAP- and ICD-led Covenant on Shared Prosperity in Nov. 2020. It gathered 200 respondents from 34 organizations.

“The survey results show that (local businesses) in this pandemic, is a caring, nurturing and compassionate sector in our society,” said Rex Drilon, currently chairman of MAP’s Shared Prosperity subcommittee, and chairman of ICD when ICD and MAP spearheaded the Covenant on Shared Prosperity.

“This reflects the true character of the good Filipino: caring, nurturing and compassionate,” Drilon added.

The survey results also showed that 45 percent of employers continued payment for non-reporting regular employees; 43 percent continued special financial assistance, advances, loans for regular employees; 31 percent continued pay for non-reporting contractual employees; 27 percent special financial assistance, advances, loans for contractual employees; 30 percent continued pay for non-reporting agency employees; and 25 percent special financial assistance, advances, loans for agency employees .

“The Philippine business community’s collective response during the pandemic truly embodied our bayanihan spirit,” said Sharon Dayoan, founding member of Filipina CEO Circle and chairman of KPMG RG Manabat & Co. “Appropriate policies and support programs are being implemented to safeguard not only our employees’ physical wellbeing but their mental and emotional health as well,” he said.

The survey asked respondents to identify themselves by revenue size, size by number of employees; whether revenue increased, decreased, or stayed flat in 2020; and whether employee number increased, decreased, or stayed flat. Answers to the other questions showed some variance among these groups.

However, as a group, one of the key findings, which may be a gauge of larger companies across the country, was that while 61 percent said revenue dropped, 55 percent said they maintained or even increased the number of employees.

"A key objective of businesses is to create jobs and in a crisis like this, business’ top priority is to protect jobs and the health and safety of our people,” said Edgar Chua, chairman of MBC.

“I'm extremely proud to say that businesses are fulfilling that commitment during this crisis," said Chua.

The survey being conducted during the first surge of 2021 and before large-scale vaccination began, respondents were also asked what policies they expected to continue or expand (85 percent work from home and flexible work arrangements) and where the private sector should increase its involvement (65 percent vaccine supply and 41 percent vaccine administration).

While most said revenues fell, everyone focused on minimizing letting go of employees, the business groups noted. Majority maintained and even added workers, underscoring the private sector’s role in helping Filipinos provide for themselves and take care of their families. The survey provides data that may flesh out the observation often made by government, media, and other observers on the extent of assistance the private sector provided at the time.