LinkedIn has released its LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2021, a composite measure that seeks to understand how people perceive work opportunities.
This year's research looked at the impact of the pandemic on Filipinos' access to opportunities. It highlights gender gaps in the workplace and how these affect women's opportunities for career development.
Silver linings despite pay cuts and reduced hours
Previous surveys have shown the Philippines as one of the most optimistic markets in Asia Pacific. This year's study by the professional networking group found that the country is now among those with below-average confidence as Filipinos see fewer opportunities and more difficult barriers.
Almost nine in 10 Filipinos feel they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, citing job insecurity, reduced working hours, and reduced pay. This led to a cautious economic outlook among Filipinos, with three out of four believing the economic situation has worsened.
Despite this, 53 percent of Filipinos still consider job security as their most desired opportunity in 2021. They have also started looking for new opportunities to help others within the community. For example, 51 percent looked to providing safety support items like sanitizer and masks to others within the community and 32 percent looked to help or mentor others to gain opportunities.
In addition, Filipinos sought learning opportunities. Millennials and Gen Zs were keen on attaining new soft skills (effective communication, creative thinking, and leadership) while learning new hard skills (business analytics, sales, and marketing).
In a statement sent to Esquire Philippines, Feon Ang, LinkedIn's vice president for Talent and Learning Solutions, weighed in on the issue.
"About a year on since COVID-19 hit us, many continue to struggle from job loss and job instability. Yet it is heartening to see that people have also turned their focus towards helping the community," said Ang.
"This is also a journey that we are working towards at LinkedIn because we believe in the power of community in helping others get back on their feet. We have also stepped up efforts to initiate mentorship opportunities for job seekers facing more barriers with our LinkedIn Coaches and Network Gap Alliance."
Filipino women still face significant barriers
As 88 percent of Filipinos have started working from home, many working women now have to face other barriers when it comes to achieving opportunities.
Women, especially working mothers, are facing more significant obstacles under the current setup compared to men. Close to half of the working mother respondents (47 percent) said they are struggling to balance their work and household responsibilities, with 42 percent saying their duties at home are getting in the way of their career development.
In spite of these barriers, women are prepared to work hard, but they desire equal access to opportunities as men. In fact, women see hard work and equal opportunities as the most important aspects (88 percent and 85 percent respectively) to getting ahead in life.
Ang said, "The Philippine workforce has taken a hit due to COVID-19 across the board, women included. The lack of time is the top barrier for women today. It is likely due to having to juggle remote working and family responsibilities."
Most filipinos think gender equality has improved
According to LinkedIn, 51 percent of Filipinos say that gender equality has improved compared to their parents' time, however, many still feel gender bias continues to exist in the workplace
According to the study, 22 percent of female professionals agree that they have fewer career advancement opportunities, and 14 percent claim they are paid less than men in their profession. In fact, half of working women in the Philippines have experienced that their being a woman played a role in missing out on opportunities, promotion, and pay.
LinkedIn's research suggests that this mindset may stem from broader societal perceptions around gender. While 74 percent think that gender equality is an important value for a fair society, more than half of the respondents believe that it has already come far enough and has been achieved to a satisfactory degree.
Further, 31 percent of Filipinos think that gender equality is impossible to achieve. This potentially shows that Filipinos feel not much more can or should be done to further gender equality.