Philippine gov't warns of recruitment scams amid lockdown

Kyodo News

Posted at May 27 2020 09:55 PM

The Philippine government said Wednesday that amid the sharp decline in the number of job placements in the country due to the COVID-19 lockdown, job applicants should be wary of fake online recruitment firms.

About 3 million graduates are expected to look for jobs amid rising unemployment in the country due to the pandemic.

"It's OK to scout for job opportunities online, but we have to discern the reliability of the information. We need to protect jobseekers from falling into the trap of illegal online recruitment activities," Dominique Rubia-Tutay, assistant secretary at the Employment and General Administration Cluster of the Labor Department, told Kyodo News.

Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello told the Senate last week that around 10 million workers may lose their jobs this year due to the effects of pandemic.

Rubia-Tutay said the pandemic has crippled many socio-economic activities, including recruitment, as businesses have undergone temporary closures or are now offering only informal work arrangements.

"Badly hit sectors in the Philippines include wholesale and retail, accommodation and food service, manufacturing, construction, education, and administrative and support services," Rubia-Tutay said.

She urged job applicants to be cautious of unreliable online recruitment firms.

Philippe Hernandez, a social media expert from the University of Santo Tomas, said the country is seeing a rise in work-from-home arrangements, online recruitment, and online consultancy jobs amid the lockdown.

"Check out government labor agencies for verification. Be wary the moment money is being asked. Also, the risk of personal information privacy breaches is high due to the online submission of credentials," Hernandez told Kyodo News.

He also said retooling among the workforce is important as work shifts from the physical to digital. Whether in an urban or rural setting, knowledge of digital skills has become critical.

"If the trend continues, there may be a reduced need for physical labor, so governments have to manage the flow of people into work from home-empowered arrangements to prevent unemployment issues," Hernandez added.

Jobstreet Philippines, a leading online job recruitment firm, said that the top 10 industries have continuously hired from March 15 to April 30, despite a 30 to 50 percent drop in job postings from when the government imposed a lockdown.

"Prior to COVID-19...we had so many jobs on the website. We were averaging 100,000 jobs a day. Right after, we saw a sudden decrease of jobs because, you know, we are in quarantine," said JobStreet country manager Philip Gioca.

He added that business process outsourcing and technology-related companies have been resilient during the pandemic and continued to post job openings online, providing jobs for Filipinos.