The alternative work arrangement bill being proposed on the floor of the Philippines Senate has the potential to institutionalise a policy framework to the benefit of the country’s growing digital economy, according to IDC.
The bill is seen by many as a vehicle to uplift a large section of the Philippines that do not have access to a significant portion of the available jobs market due to their location or available infrastructure.
In a more recent move, the government sought to expand the availability of services to remote regions of the country through issuing a set of guidelines to ensure the provision of “strategic, reliable, and cost-efficient” ICT infrastructure, while ensuring better coverage to areas not adequately served by the private sector.
This initiative will see at least 2,500 common towers across the Philippines converted or built in identified government-owned properties as well as hard-to-access areas identified by telcos.
Furthermore, IDC sees the adoption of new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) and cloud as having a direct impact on how and where people work, in addition to the digital culture created within an enterprise.
“IDC believes that the success of digital transformation goals within the organisation is directly related to the creation of the right working environment and the empowerment of employees,” said Randy Roberts, head of operations, IDC Philippines.
“Some of the key barriers slowing digital transformation in the Philippines is not about technology but rather the ability of enterprises to address the new required digital skill sets and working preferences of the millennial workers."
Consideration of the working preferences of the millennial worker are particularly important in a country like the Philippines where around 60 per cent of the population is under the age of 30, with IDC predicting that by 2025, this age demographic will represent the largest group of workers.
“Aside from the direct cost benefits to workers and businesses, the utilisation of alternative work arrangements can potentially improve commuter flows and ease traffic congestion - which cost the Philippines billions daily in additional operating costs and productivity losses - once it reaches enough scale,” said Sean Agapito, market analyst and future of work practice country lead, IDC Philippines.
“Adopting non-traditional work arrangements also aligns quite well with the government’s inclusive national growth agenda as it allows people from the countryside to gain access to career opportunities previously not feasible to them and enables organisations to tap into a vastly wider talent pool."
It is expected that by 2022, 65 per cent of APAC’s GDP will be digitalised according to IDC, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships.
As such, if Philippine enterprises do not invest in developing their digital-focused capabilities they will increasingly lose out and risk getting a smaller and smaller share of the global economy.
The policy environment of the Philippines around work has been progressing quickly over the past six months.
Earlier this year, the Telecommuting Act, which recognises telecommuting as a legitimate work arrangement and safeguards the rights of employees engaged in it, was signed into law.
This recent wave of forward-looking policy changes is crucial for the country to prepare for the inevitable changes around the new workforce, workspace, and work culture, ultimately leading to a more competitive digital economy.
“We have seen good momentum on the policy and regulatory side through the Telecommuting Act and Alternative Working Arrangement bill but it is imperative that the private and public sectors work together to ensure that the new digital workforce is prepared for this future of work with the right skills and workplace flexibility,” said Roberts.