impact of artificial intelligence in jobs

Sen. Bam to probe job threats in BPO sector

Sen. Bam Aquino will examine the threats to jobs in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the effects of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

After receiving reports that the BPO sector may need to reduce their workforce or set aside expansion plans in the country, Sen. Bam set a second hearing on the issue on Monday (March 12).

“The BPO sector is a major source of livelihood for Filipino families. We cannot afford to give away job security and job opportunities, especially with the rising prices of goods,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam revealed that several BPOs may relocate, abort expansion, or re-shore workers due to the effects of the TRAIN Law.

“When we first conducted the hearing last year, AI emerged as the main threat to our BPO industry. Now, we saw the need to include the government tax reform program as it is also taking a toll on the sector,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.

During the TRAIN’s period of amendments, Sen. Bam pushed for the retention of a special tax rate for regional operating headquarters and regional headquarters (ROHQs/RHQs). However, the provision was vetoed by Malacanang, much to the dismay of the BPO sector.

Sen. Bam said the veto will lead to an increase in cost of doing business, which will affect the status of 5,000 workers and prevent other BPOs from setting up shop in the Philippines.

On the part of artificial intelligence, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) mentioned that they are anticipating a decline in demand for low-skilled jobs in the IT-BPO industry of about 43,000 jobs by 2022.

However, Sen. Bam allayed fears by calling on government agencies and private companies to work together to upgrade skills and abilities of Filipino workers through training and education.

Sen. Bam emphasized the opportunity presented in the IBPAP report that if the existing IT-BPO workforce and if fresh college graduates are re-skilled and up-skilled, “we can meet the anticipated increase in demand of 388,000 jobs for mid-skilled tasks, and 309,000 jobs for high-skilled tasks in 2022.”

Sen. Bam: Prepare for AI takeover of PH jobs

Instead of focusing on the threats of artificial intelligence (AI), Sen. Bam Aquino said the business community can harness AI to create more jobs, increase competitiveness, and improve products and services.

“While AI may very well be our competition in the marketplace of jobs, they might also be unintended rivals that push us to evolve, become more efficient, to learn and to relearn,” Sen. Bam stressed in his speech during the International Quality Conference, which was held at Okada Manila in Paranaque.

 ”And I hope this pushes us, not to shut our doors, but rather to kickstart our competitive spirit and develop our workforce for the future,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam also commended the Asia Pacific Quality Organization, the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) and other participants of the event for tackling how to harness the latest technology for the development of various industries.

As chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, Sen. Bam spearheaded an inquiry on the effects of AI in the country’s present workforce, especially in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

During the hearing, it was discovered that AI will affect around 40,000 jobs in the contact center industry next year. However, it was projected that around 250,000 to 300,000 fresh employment opportunities will be created for those with data analysts and data programming skills. Sen. Bam these jobs can be opened up to Filipinos who are willing to learn and relearn.

 “The key is to be prepared. We must prepare our workforce through adequate, accessible, affordable training, re-training and education,” said Sen. Bam, adding that the cooperation of between the private sector, academe and government agencies is critical to the evolution and development of the Filipino workforce.

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