Opening address at the 21st Century Workplace: Leadership skills in the workplace launch of the ECOP In Business Soft Skills series

By Ms Ma. Concepcion Sardaña, Senior Programme Officer on behalf of Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the 21st Century Workplace: Leadership skills in the workplace launch of the ECOP In Business Soft Skills series, 23 March 2021, Manila, Philippines via Zoom

Statement | Manila, Philippines via Zoom | 23 March 2021
A pleasant afternoon. It is my honour to welcome you today on behalf of our ILO Director, Mr Khalid Hassan.

This inaugural launch and signing of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee In Business Soft Skills Workshop Series is indeed an important milestone mid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the onset, let me recognize the presence of our partners:
  • Mr Ortiz-Luis, Jr. Ms Pardo-Aguilar, and officials of ECOP;
  • Mr Lopez of the Philippine Hotel Owners Association;
  • Ambassador Yujuico of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
  • Ms Abella of the Philippine Exporters Confederation;
  • Ms Caliwara of the Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors; and
  • Ms Abad of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment.
We are grateful to your support to this programme.

To all those joining us virtually today, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good day!

The ILO appreciates the collaborative and cross cutting nature of the development and launch of the ECOP In Business Soft Skills Series, with the theme 21st Century Workplace: Leadership Skills in the Workplace.

We laud this inter-industry collaborative initiative that brings visibility to the value of investing in soft skills training in the workplace, particularly as enterprises face challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than ever, workplaces and employers’ organizations need to find new perspectives in engaging for improved productivity and efficiency in the changing workplace.

Soft Skills such as creativity, critical thinking and leadership will help employees and managers design new strategies for work in the new normal or a better normal.

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed how managers from the Philippine Hotel Owners Association and owners from PhilExport, mainly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) apply these soft skills in designing new processes, new services. These will help in adjusting to the changes and challenges of the new normal, making it a better normal.

More importantly, this training initiative also provides an opportunity to engage more women in the workplace. Investing in women workers and managers under this project provide us a foundation to encourage dialogue on best strategies and interventions to harness potentials of women in business and management.

Overall, this contributes to achieving priorities under the Decent Work Country Programme in the Philippines, and building a better future of work.

We know that improving gender diversity in the workplace does not only benefit women, but overall contributes to an improved society, economies and enterprises themselves. This becomes even more important amid the pandemic that has disproportionately affected women as they struggle to juggle their work responsibilities and unpaid care work all at the same time.

We are encouraged to see efforts of various enterprises and employers’ organizations, and more specifically, commitment and efforts demonstrated through the ILO’s Women in STEM Programme, funded by J.P. Morgan.

Enterprises and industry associations in the Philippines have committed to provide soft skills trainings for women in employment towards career advancement. The Women in STEM programme is pleased to have seen this commitment continue even into the virtual forums in delivering trainings as enterprises shift to online engagement. We encourage different enterprises present here today to explore the value of providing these trainings to your employees and to your stakeholders.

As we marked International Women’s Day globally and the National Women’s Month in the Philippines, the ILO encourages enterprises and employers to continue making strides. These concrete actions are more needed than ever for positive business outcomes that we know are possible.

Together with our social partners from various industry associations, we can unlock opportunities towards a more gender responsive and resilient businesses in the New Normal – a better normal that tackles injustices and inequalities.

Maraming salamat po!