WASHINGTON, D.C. — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez participated in the panel on Closing the Global Skills Gap during the Meridian Global Leadership Summit held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on 12 October 2018.
Moderated by Sarah Wildman of Foreign Policy Magazine, the Panel was also joined by United States Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL); Molly Kinder, Senior Advisor on Work, Workers and Technology at New America; and Sharon Grant, Vice President for Community Affairs at United Airlines.
The panel explored how automation, artificial intelligence, and technological advances are challenging traditional employer and education models around the world. It also identified ways for the public and private sectors to work together to prepare the future workforce for the jobs in the 21st century.
“The Philippine services sector, especially our IT/business process management industry, grew with technology and innovation, which, today, are also our main challenges. Our competitiveness, and even the need for human workers, are impacted by rapid innovations in the areas of digital transformation, artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, and evolving delivery models. It is imperative that the economy and our industries evolve with the changing demands of the market to remain competitive,” Ambassador Romualdez said in a statement.
“I appreciate the opportunity to join the future of work panel at this year’s Meridian Global Leadership Summit. It tackled a very vital issue on the intersection of education, jobs and technology, and I was happy to provide not only the Philippine national perspective, but also that of a developing country in the fast growing region that is Asia,” Ambassador Romualdez added.
Congressman Rooney spoke about vital issues of education and training, including that of the importance of apprenticeships. Ms. Grant shared United’s experience in re-training for new jobs and new skills, including initiatives relating to their contact centers in the Philippines.
“There is going to be change, and we need to prepare for it. There will be that sense of flux and change, especially in routine and predictable jobs. However, occupations that involve inspiring and leading will continue to be available, as creativity is not easily automated,” Ms. Kinder said in describing the trade-offs that are coming in the world of work.
The panel also agreed that jobs requiring empathy and intimate human interaction are going to weather the changes that are forthcoming, such as in education and health care.
Ambassador Romualdez made reference to the decision of Philippine Airlines to revert to greater human customer service in certain instances. He also noted that Filipinos do relatively well in empathy, and in understanding human issues and emotions.
With the theme Tech and Innovation Disrupting Borders and Sectors, the 7th Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit was organized by the Meridian International Center. It addressed the increasing influence of digital technology and innovation on foreign policy and international business.
The Annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit is held in conjunction with the annual Meridian Ball, which is now on its 50th year. The Philippine Embassy is one of the 35 foreign diplomatic missions that will host intimate pre-Ball dinners on 12 October 2018.