Until 2030: 7M construction jobs seen

    Lure of higher pay. Intense competition in the job market in sectors and overseas markets has caused a shortage in construction workers in the country.
    Lure of higher pay. Intense competition in the job market in sectors and overseas markets has caused a shortage in construction workers in the country.

    A roadmap projects additional 3 million jobs to be generated by the construction industry by 2030 when its value should have grown to P130 trillion.

    Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in his speech at the 4th Philippine Construction Industry Congress in Makati City yesterday said the roadmap predicts a 7.1 million jobs in 10 years from 3.9 million in 2018.

    Those workers would producing P23 trillion construction value, 100 times than the P2.3 trillion produced by workers in 2018 due to the sheer number of workers and the productivity through technology and skills.

    According to Lopez, the additional 2030 projection translates to about additional 300,000 new jobs per year.

    But he admits the scarcity of workers in construction persists due to intense competition in the job market in sectors and overseas markets that offer better pay.

    Lopez cited cases where contractors pay their workers additional P1,000 every Monday just to make sure they come to work.

    Lopez said the government supports higher wages for construction work but that it cannot mandate it.

    “Market forces are pulling up wages. But this will make (the sector) attractive for workers.

    If (contractors) want to get quality or skilled workers, they have to match (the wages),” Lopez told reporters.

    Shortage of skilled labor is just one of the weaknesses and challenges documented in the roadmap. The others are mounting supply side constraints in the form of high logistics and business transaction costs and; the slow adoption of digital and modern technologies.

    The study conducted by Ronilo Balbieran, vice president of REID Foundation and infrastructure team leader of the USAID-Deliver Project, said contractors shell out 15 to 35 percent in “other costs” associated with red tape and corruption.

    Balbieran said interviews conducted for the study revealed some are spending as high 50 percent in additional costs.

    Lopez said government is addressing “additional costs” by finetuning the
    controls in the way biddings, procurement and selection of accredited contractors are done.

    “Through proper systems, these additional costs will be eliminated by the implementing agencies,” Lopez added.

    Beyond addressing standards in construction materials, Lopez said agencies should also do careful audit of the structures to ensure they adhere to the building code.

    Without the roadmap, Lopez said the construction industry growth is predicted to go only as high as 86 percent in the next 11 years, or an average of 8 percent per year.

    Cumulative total value of the industry is estimated to be P43 trillion by 2030.

    Lopez said with the full adoption and implementation of the Roadmap, the forward momentum provided by Build, Build, Build will be maintained with the sustained long-term strategic outlook amounting to a cumulative P130 trillion within 2020 to 2030.

    The roadmap will also bolster future job market as it raises the quantity and quality of jobs for construction managers, professionals, and skilled workers.

    “For quality, we expect to develop new and improved sets of skills and professional competencies that incorporate modern technology, innovation, and digitization to greatly improve worker productivity,” Lopez.

    The roadmap further predict that the average construction worker in 2030 will produce 500 percent more work versus the work produced in 2018. The total maximum annual value of work in 2030 will amount to P 21.3 trillion by 2030, or ten times larger than the P2.3T trillion-worth of construction work done in 2018.