Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Report: APAC can pay more heed to labour market issues

Report: APAC can pay more heed to labour market issues

Report: APAC can pay more heed to labour market issues

Many countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are not placing enough emphasis on labour market issues as they prepare for the impact of ground-breaking trends on work in the future, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

It identified these “mega trends” as technological changes that are reshaping how and where people work; demographic changes arising from higher life expectancies coupled with lower mortality and reproduction rates; and environmental and climate change.

The ILO report released this month examined the policy responses to these trends in the 10 Asean countries and six other nations in the APAC region – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Although it acknowledged that the region is “by no means homogeneous on the socioeconomic front”, it stated that one common feature is that labour market issues are treated as an “afterthought” in most of the policy documents reviewed.

This is especially so in policies linked to what is known as Industry 4.0 – the way smart tech is shaping how we work and live – where economic interests often trump social considerations, said ILO assistant director-general and regional director for Asia and the Pacific Tomoko Nishimoto.

“Likewise, in policies and plans on ageing, many countries now promote the extension of working years without sufficient forethought on the possible consequences to older workers and the families that support them.

“Meanwhile, strategies to encourage a greener economy tend to miss opportunities to include ‘just transition’ measures that would help address the social impact of greening.”

The report noted that if reskilling is to be part of a national push to increase capabilities for higher-tech jobs, workers should be involved in dialogue related to company restructuring and job changes so that they have time to prepare. Employers should also invest in workplace learning so that they can reskill existing workers instead of letting them go and recruiting new ones.

There should be more flexibility when it comes to encouraging elderly workers to remain in the workforce, such as part-time options, said the report.

Some countries – Cambodia, Australia, China and Thailand – even have favourable loans for elderly people to start businesses.

Almost all the 16 nations studied acknowledge that the green sector is an important source of potential job creation, such as in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015. But only some, like New Zealand and the Philippines, have an explicit focus on ensuring environmental sustainability is linked to creating decent work and quality jobs.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ANN

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro