Event Reports

Transformation of Work in Asia-Pacific in the 21st Century

Key Policy Implications

AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang set the tone of the event by delivering the opening remarks. Dr. Kang discussed the desired outcome of the forum – igniting conversation on education and human capital development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Dr. Kang emphasized, among many recommendations, innovation and training to prepare the future workforce.

Dean Kar Yan Tam of the HKUST Business School delivered the keynote presentation and focused on the overall findings of his study on the Transformation of Work in the 21st Century. The main takeaways are:

  1. The negative relationship between automation readiness and income inequality, the positive relationship between automation readiness and labor productivity, the positive relationship between automation readiness and economic growth, and the negative relationship between automation readiness and unemployment.
  2. Some recommendations for education and retraining of the current workforce: (1) promote STEM / STEAM education in primary and secondary schools; (2) ensure adequate supply of talent in technology and engineering; and (3) promote sustainable lifelong learning for the workforce through tax incentives.

Dr. Jamil Paolo Francisco presented the implications for the country. In his presentation, Automation and the Future of Work in the Philippines, the main insights and recommendations were the following:

  1. In the Philippines, the most vulnerable workers are the youth, agricultural workers, less educated, and the low-income;
  2. In the third industrial revolution, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was a major enabler for the Philippines;
  3. Automation should be a matter of how and when;
  4. Build capacities in Infrastructure, Institutions, and Intelligence; and
  5. Re-equip the workforce and re-invent the economy.

This was followed by a panel discussion participated by Commissioner Johannes Bernabe of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), Dr. Aniceto Orbeta of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Satumba (represented Usec. Jacinto Paras) of the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS), Director John Arnold Sien (represented Usec. Lorna Dig-Dino) of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines, and Executive Director Nicki Agcaoili of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP). Dr. Federico Macaranas moderated the panel discussion and the open forum.

The event was well-attended. There were a total of 105 participants, a good mix of policy implementors (participants from DOLE, DTI, DFA, DICT, NEDA), academics, human capital development practitioners from the business sector, civil society organizations, and members of various industry groups.