Opposition raise concerns over youth unemployment crisis

SHERAB DORJI | Thimphu

While the government has pledged to create more employment opportunities for youths, the Opposition Party in its meet-the-press on Friday raised a scathing criticism stating that the government failed to give priority to job creation.

Today the youth unemployment rate has peaked at an all-time high of 22.60 percent in the country.

Sharing the concerns over the all-time record of unemployed youth in the country, Opposition Leader (OL) Dorji Wangdi said the programs initiated by the government to the youths are all temporary measures.

He said it is paramount to create decent employment to retain youths in the long term. The OL referred to decent employment ‘as that which includes entrepreneurship platforms and salaried jobs in the public or private sector.’ 

“If the people were to take up decent employment, then the six pillars like secured employment, fair wages, safe working conditions, social security, social dialogue, and labor rights and standards should be considered,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 2020 labor force survey report states, “A lower unemployment rate shows a growing economy, while a higher rate shows a declining economy and its inability to absorb people of working age.”

For instance, as globally impacted by the pandemic the government has come up with various methods regarding addressing the problem of unemployment in the country.

One such kind is the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reform plan, which intends to achieve four pillars of the TVET reform plan. The pillars include product transformation, place transformation, people transformation, and process transformation.  

Another initiative is the Build Bhutan Project (BBP), a part of the TVET reform plan intended to address wider and long-term goals of the construction industry which are to mobilize, create and manage a pool of skilled workforce, promote the sector, and design attractive incentives to retain the workforce in the sector.

Skill Development Program (SDP) is also one such measure to overcome the employment crisis in the country.

Norbu Wangchuk, the director of the Department of Technical Education under the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoHLR) on Friday made a presentation in the National Council.

The presentation which was titled “National Skills Development Initiative” intends to provide easy access to skills training, meaningful engagement, enhancing skills and competencies of the Bhutanese workforce, and prepare them for the world of work in the 21st century.

Authorities said it is also a concern as most responses from the youth are not encouraging, and that they lack the interest to work in the construction and agricultural sectors.

The OL said he is also concerned as many youths don’t take part in such kind of BBP. He said it was because of the lack of some six pillars of decent employment which the government needs to consider if they were to remedy it.  

Meanwhile, the 2020 labor force survey report states the reasons for being unemployed is because around 19.5 percent had just recently completed their studies while another 19 percent were laid off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, lack of adequate qualification made up 16 percent while lack of experience made up for about 10.8 percent.