A study conducted by The Economist Impact and supported by Google showed that 42 percent of Filipino employees want to acquire new digital skills related to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, a rate higher than their Asia-Pacific neighbors, but the country’s poor internet infrastructure is a top hurdle for those who want to self-study.
Despite the demand for opportunities to upskill, around 41 percent of Filipinos said that poor internet access is a major hindrance to enrolling in online courses while nearly 40 percent said they don’t have time required to invest in learning new skills.
Course fees were cited as a barrier by 30 percent of respondents, while another 30 percent noted the absence of training opportunities in their workplace as a hurdle.
The survey also showed that most Filipinos only consider AI and ML skills as the 7th most important digital skill to learn, with IT support (65 percent) and data analysis and visualization (55 percent) topping the list.
Filipinos’ higher-than-average interest in digital upskilling, compared to the Asia-Pacific region, implies a substantial gap in the knowledge of workers who already see the importance of skills but don’t have it, according to Yves Gonzales of Google Philippines.
A recent study by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization found that the wave of generative AI is more likely to ‘complement’ rather than ‘substitute’ jobs, but warned that clerical work would most likely be the most affected category of jobs.
The rapidly expanding digital economy in the country means that Filipino workers have to learn new skills to take advantage of the creation of new jobs in the field, said Department of Information and Communication Technology Director Teresa Magno-Garcia during the launch of the study.
Our government has to find the ways and means to make it easier for Filipinos to upskill in order to remain competitive, especially in the light of increasing competition from humans and even technology. Improving internet access, and providing more opportunities for training will be key, and we have to start as soon as possible, as the world will continue to move on, not waiting for all nations to be ready.*