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Boost employment opportunities

Published : Saturday, 13 August, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 993
Alaul Alam

Alaul Alam

Alaul Alam

Undeniably, a war-ravaged Bangladesh over the last five decades has made a remarkable progress in every sector. The country has achieved the status of rising economy in the South Asia.

Working opportunities of our people mostly in Middle East countries and other parts of the world are considered as one of the key escalators to flourish our national economy. Again, the growth of the job sectors in the country over the years has helped not only the unemployed youths to be self-reliant but also reach the national economy to a height.

Apart from the growth of employment opportunities in formal and informal sectors, over the last twenty years significant changes have been noticed in employment sector of the country. More job opportunities were created when mills and factories brought employment for millions of new workers. There saw a rapid shift of labour force from agriculture to industry and services. The country saw a large scale expansion of employment with the establishment of the readymade garments sector.

However, despite new job creation there is a constant challenge for the country to create more decent jobs for the people. Things have been more frustrating when we see the slow pace in case of creating employment opportunities for the youths. According to the Labor Force Survey 2015, the trend of creating new job opportunities has slowed down at a worrying rate.

The RMG sector of the country which was accommodating more labour force is experiencing many challenges nationally as well as globally and employment opportunities have been declined over the recent years.

It is estimated that between 2013 and 2016-17, the average annual GDP growth was 6.6 percent while the average annual growth of jobs was only 0.9 percent.

In the recent years the youth unemployment rate has increased at an alarming level. The Labour Force Survey-2016-2017 revealed that the national unemployment rate was 4.2 per cent while youth employment rate stood at 10.6 per cent. The report also said that the educated youths were bearing the most brunt of unemployment.

According to Bangladesh Employment and Labor Market Watch 2018, youth unemployment rate in the country is the highest among graduates with a tertiary degree. Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) stated in its recent report that more than one-third of the total youth labor force in Bangladesh with higher education is unemployed.

As per the report of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2018, Bangladesh was the second out of 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region for having the highest level of educated unemployment rate.
The frustration of the unemployed youths in the country has deepened amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The slow pace job creation in the pre-pandemic has experienced a standstill in the Covid uncertainty. According to the ILO data, approximately 255 million people in the world lost their jobs in the pandemic.

In Bangladesh there was an uncertain standstill in case of creating new employment opportunities. On top of that, around 1.6 million young people lost their jobs and there were around 20million people who faced severe income loss in the pandemic.

Studies show that many of the youths who lost jobs in the pandemic, hardly find scopes to get them employed in these days. Again, the want of employment opportunities contributes to increasing the number of the unemployed ever year.

In the post pandemic period when each country is struggling to mitigate the loss caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia and Ukraine war has deepened the global challenges to bring back with their sustainable economy. Due to the recession in global economy job sectors are greatly being affected.

Thousands of people even in the developed counties have become jobless during the Covid-19 pandemic. Again the vulnerable global economy has slowed down the trend of new job creation. Bangladesh is not the exception. Amid the global inflation and power crisis, the country is facing many challenges to boost up employment sector. On top of that, many private investments have been packed up amid the global economic recession.

It is obvious that we need to create more job opportunities to accommodate all youths into labour force. At the same time, it is urgent to make the youths equip with necessary skills.

It is no denial that tertiary education of the country is expected to play a pivotal role to turn the graduates into human resources. But what we see in reality that in most cases tertiary education system is unable to meet the needs of the society and the state. Public universities are busy with opening many departments to teach subjects that hardly equip students with the skills required for job market.

Certainly, producing a huge number of graduates and post graduates is not enough unless they turn into skilled manpower. There is a gap prevailing between education and employability. The existing education gives priority to the generalisation of education which hardly addresses to equip students with skilled-based knowledge.

Bangladesh is more fortunate than many other countries in the world for its demographic dividend. Majority of the people in the country belong to the working age group. If they are skilled and get employable opportunity, they can be a resource of the country. This will not only ensure their personal improvement but also contribute economic development of the country.
In this technology-dependent era outcome-based education is greatly emphasized to equip students with necessary skills and knowledge. Certainly, in the advent of fourth industrial revolution low and unskilled workers will lose their jobs unless initiatives are taken to reskill them. Automation will replace human labour.

Many opine that it will bring disasters in the employment sector.It may be shocking for the unskilled labours but the skilled workers will see more scopes of employment.

It is good to see that the rapid digitization in Bangladesh has created more new job opportunities for the youths. The technology and ICT sectors are ready to accommodate more youths who are equipped with necessary skills and knowledge.

To this end, to boost up the national economy engaging all youths in the labour market is a must. Priority should be given to ensure working opportunity and working environment equally for both men and women. The obvious thing we must all bear in mind that job creation will hardly help the unemployed unless they are equipped with requisite skills for the job. Our universities should think that producing graduates will be worthless unless they become resource for the country.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS

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