Employers’ conference to focus on tech-driven future

Employers said they will focus discussions during the upcoming 45th National Conference of Employers (NCE) on tech-driven future as they emphasized that employees have to learn and relearn 40 percent of their skills over the next five years to keep their jobs.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) will hold the annual NCE with the theme "Job Generation in a Technology-Driven Environment" on June 25-26 at The Manila Hotel.  The conference will bring together experts, key government officials, industry leaders, employers, and their partners to discuss strategies for sustaining decent employment in the evolving landscape of "Bagong Pilipinas."

While the demand for jobs is set to rise, ECOP said that the skills required to stay employed are rapidly evolving. To stay employed, ECOP said workers are expected to learn and relearn 40 percent of their skills over the next five years.

This is because the landscape of work is constantly changing driven by technology, climate change, globalization, and demographic shifts. Of these, ECOP said, technology has had the most profound impact, especially the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI). “Employers are now facing the critical need to address technological disruptions and prepare for the future,” ECOP said in a statement.

It noted that while many countries are still navigating Industry 4.0, some, like those in the European Union, are already transitioning to Industry 5.0. This new phase involves collaboration between humans and smart machines to enhance work processes. Industry 5.0 aims to place the well-being of workers at the center, leveraging new technologies for sustainable growth and societal benefit.

Employers also cited the growing role of AI, which is expected to reshape business models, production, marketing, and distribution, necessitating new skills for employees. “AI integration will require workers to continuously upskill and reskill to stay relevant in their roles,” it added.

ECOP also cited a study by McKinsey Global Institute, which noted that demand for technological skills will continue to rise, while the need for basic cognitive, physical, and manual skills will decline. There will be a growing requirement for higher cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and technological expertise. Human abilities like empathy, initiative, leadership, and advanced communication will remain invaluable.

As AI is expected to impact differently across sectors, appearing as a challenge or opportunity, ECOP said that Filipino employers and workers must adapt to this technology-driven environment, supported by government, educational institutions, and training organizations. Employers need to prioritize continuous learning and development, fostering a culture of excellence and sustainability. 

“Workers should embrace technology, continually update their skills, and develop soft skills that machines cannot replicate,” the employers said.