With the Philippines’ economy already impressive growth expected to receive a significant boost from a massive infrastructure drive, participants at the 2016 PhilConstruct trade show in Metro Manila earlier this month were buzzing with excitement. The event was the largest of its kind, featuring more than 1,500 exhibitors from not only the Philippines, but from Asia, Europe and North America.
The Philippine economy is the fastest growing in Asia, hitting 7.1 percent in the last quarter – its strongest growth in three years – on the back of a number of factors, including strong investment in construction and infrastructure. President Rodrigo Duterte is forging ahead with a 7 trillion peso ($150.5 billion) plan to create a “golden age of public infrastructure.”
Jubie Bartolay, a consultant with executive recruitment company Monroe Consulting Group Philippines, said the excitement was palpable at the PhilConstruct trade show at the SMX Convention Center Manila and World Trade Center Metro Manila on Nov. 10-13. “The number of exhibitors, including world-leading companies, is the highest in the 27 years this event has been held, and this does not include the many thousands of visitors over the course of the construction and building expo.”
She said the public infrastructure drive, as well as ongoing private construction boom, presented a number of companies with unprecedented business opportunities but also a number of concerns. “Chief among these concerns is how do companies source executives for key positions within their businesses?” she asked. “We are already experiencing a lack of workers in the private construction industry, and this is increasingly impacting on more senior positions.”
Jubie, the deputy head of Monroe Philippines’ Industrial Division, said she was approached by a number of company representatives who admitted they were having issues recruiting key executives for vital roles, both technical and executive positions, from engineers to sales executives.
“To be honest, this expo has opened a number of doors from Monroe as we have been operating in the Philippines for a decade and have intimate industry knowledge about sourcing and securing the people needed to help grow our clients, both national and multinational companies.”
Debbie Obispo, also with Monroe, said the recruitment company was busy forging new relationships with construction companies and improving relationships with existing clients that were in the process of expanding to take advantage of the prevailing economic conditions.
“Monroe is well known for providing quality manpower to fill in the requirements of its clients – both in technical or senior management roles,” she said. “We have superior industry knowledge, and as a company that operates in the wider Asia-Pacific region, we have a global perspective that we can apply locally. This has helped us maintain our position as an industry leader.”
Samantha Garcia, another consultant with the multiple international-award winning recruitment company, said it was encouraging to see how many companies were looking to establish operations in the Philippines for the first time.
“We have helped a number of these companies secure talent,” she said. “We know the industry and the country, and can give pretty frank advice about the quality of the people available for a particular job and the likely salary expectations of those potentially interested in the roles.”