By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) Updated September 03, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Aside from pilots, the country is suffering from a severe shortage of highly skilled information and communication technology (ICT) workers.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Joel Villanueva said yesterday that the country needs at least three million ICT workers annually to meet the demand here and abroad.

Villanueva said even with the projected rise in the enrollment ICT courses nationwide, the country is still unable to meet the growing demand for such skills locally and overseas.     

While the number of students enrolled in ICT courses is growing, Villanueva said the employers consider the quality of training in the different colleges and universities as inferior.

“In addition to the demand/supply gap in numbers, there is increasing skill quality gap, where TESDA hopes to help turn around by improving its training content and delivery,” Villanueva pointed out.

Villanueva said some ICT graduates are particularly lacking in skills related to ICT application, security, graphics and animation; and ICT research and training, and localization and open source programming.

According to Villanueva, demand in the ICT supply industry is expected to climb sharply and reach a level of about 17 million this year while the demand in the ICT user sectors will increase faster to reach a level of 73 million.

A major demand for ICT workers is projected to be concentrated in six countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Russia.