Offering higher wages in the construction industry will address the shortage of skilled labor in the sector, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Lopez told reporters that construction companies are now hiking wages to ensure that there will be no delays in their projects due to manpower shortage.

“We see it happening.”

“We see it happening, because when you experience the shortage and you want certain projects to continue, you have no choice but to attract more skilled labor, skilled workforce and you’re forced to add more,” the trade chief said.

The trade head added that with the robust growth of the construction sector, it will need more workers in the future, not only to secure the growth of the industry but also to deliver the projects on time.

For the third quarter of 2019, construction sector grew to 16.3 percent year-on-year.

He said with the timely approval of the 2020 national budget, public construction will continue to support the double-digit growth of the industry.

“We are confident that the double-digit growth in the succeeding quarters will be consistent and steady with the timely signing of the 2020 national budget and the momentum built up by Build, Build, Build (program),” Lopez said.

“We will not recommend setting a minimum wage in the construction sector.” 

But he said his office would not recommend setting a minimum wage in the construction sector and would let the market forces of demand and supply pull up the wage rates to attract more workers.

From 2016 to 2019, 1.5 million workers were added in the construction sector. For 2019 alone, some 287,000 jobs were generated in the construction industry, Lopez noted.

The Philippine Construction Industry Roadmap sees cumulative value of the industry at P130 trillion from 2020 to 2030.

Jobs in the sector are forecasted to grow to 7.1 million over the next 10 years, expanding by 80 percent from the current 3.9 million workers.

He said the construction sector plays a crucial role in uplifting Filipinos from poverty through jobs generated in the industry.

“Our country’s ‘Golden Age of Infrastructure’ will be further realized even as we continue to strengthen the Build, Build, Build Program through the roadmap’s implementation. We will also provide future generations of Filipinos a strong infrastructure program crucial to economic growth while giving them a chance to a better life,” Lopez concluded. 

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