First News
Volume:8, Number:04
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Nation In The News

The Employment Paradox

The production capability of the industry has increased, but employment has decreased although there is a huge lack of skilled manpower in the country

| Navid Ahmed |

Thousands of young educated people are jobless in Bangladesh. They find it difficult to get jobs. Many of them are choosing unemployed life failing to match jobs in accordance with their qualifications. On the other hand, some of them take up jobs of lower positions compared to their qualifications, but they quit them too after some time. Besides, some do not want accept positions when offered because they will have to live in rural areas. As a result, they are staying back in the capital in the hope of getting job of their choice.

Experts say that absence of joboriented education is leading to the increase of number of unemployed higher educated youths in the country. There are numerous BBA and MBA degree holders, but they are not being utilized. On the contrary, there is a huge lack of skilled manpower in the country. Manager-level officers for the factories are scarce. That is why it is time for introduction of marketoriented technical education by bringing radical changes in the existing education system. Apart from this, the industrial sector should be given different incentives like tax holidays and adequate policy support. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics’ (BBS) Labor Force Survey 2015-16 says that 1.4 million jobs were created in the country in last two years, which is 4.2 percent. But still there are 2.6 million unemployed people in the country like that of 2013, suggesting that the unemployment rate remains unchanged. The unemployment rate among the higher educated youths is 9 percent.

On the other hand, the World Bank data shows that despite the increase in Bangladesh's growth in recent years, new employment opportunities have diminished in the country. The growth of employment generation rate from 2003 to 2010 was 2.7 percent. It decreased to 1.8 percent during the period from 2010 to 2015. Employment rate in the readymade garment industry is almost stagnant. The production capability of the industry has increased, but employment has decreased. To overcome this challenge, emphasis should be laid upon adopting a national integrated employment strategy, technology- based quality education, and women’s participation in the labor force. Center for Policy Dialogue’s (CPD) special fellow Mustafizur Rahman said that the growth is being achieved through productivity and productivity should be increased as it involves competitiveness.

There are major deviations in the diversification of the economy that the country needs to ensure job opportunities for more people. To that end, the employment opportunities should be created by bringing diversification in the export sector. Number of skilled labors should be increased and the cost of doing business must be reduced. The World Bank report says that desired and quality job opportunities are not being created in the country despite GDP growth. Besides, a large number of women are out of the labor force. There is a lack of qual-ity jobs, especially in case of women. Some 63 percent of capable women and 35 percent of capable men do agricultural work. The World Bank thinks that there are five types of challenges to increase employment. They are: Creating quality employment, reducing gender discrimination in jobs, increasing employment growth, reducing competition among young people entering the job market, and exploring new job markets overseas.

According to BBS's new labor force survey, 1.4 million workers has been added to the country's labor force in the period between December 2013 and June 2015, and unemployment rate has dropped from 4.3 percent to 4.2 percent. Yet, as many as 2.6 million people are still unemployed in the country. Some 9 percent of higher educated people are unemployed. If someone does not have the opportunity to work for an hour a week, he or she is considered unemployed according to the criteria given by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Only 2.2 percent of the people, who did not get access to any kind of education, are unemployed, according to the BBS report. More than 10 percent of capable youths between 15 and 24 are unemployed. According to the survey, the unemployment rate is now 4.2 percent. Unemployment rate amongst women is 6.8 percent while it is 3 percent amongst men. Some 1.3 million men and the same number of women are now unemployed in the country. Some 12.1 percent of higher educated youths are unemployed. Of them, the rate of unemployed women is higher which is 15 percent. The unemployment rate in the urban area (4.4 percent) is higher than the rural area (4.1 percent).

The BBS survey of 2015-2016 fiscal year claims that the number of people having work opportunities in Bangladesh is 59.5 million. In the previous survey of 2013, the number was 58.8 million. According to the 2006 labor force survey, there were 47.4 million workers in the country. In 2010, the number increased to 51.4 million. At that time, an average of 1.34 million job opportunities were created annually. In two years, the average wages and earnings of both men and women have increased. Women earn less than men, according to the labor force survey. The average income of women is BDT12,100, which was BDT10,817 in 2013. Now a man earns BDT13,100 on average while it was BDT11,733 two years back.

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