Sunday, April 26, 2009

We want jobs, not work

We want jobs, not work
The labour survey 2006 said that the unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent which is alarming considering our population. However, the ministry of labour and human resource (MoLHR) hopes to bring down the unemployment rate down to 1.5. percent by the end of 10 FYP.
That is a reduction by more than 50 percent, which holds good promise for the unemployed and the country in general. But are we going to achieve that figure?
MoLHR is banking on the hydro-power projects and construction industries to help bring down the figure. Punatsangchu and other projects would certainly need a large number of workers, both skilled and unskilled. These projects would be offering several thousands of job opportunities.
That is a good opportunity for all those VTI graduates, a majority of whom are still without jobs after undergoing the training. But if they are going to make a distinction between a ‘work ‘ and ‘job’, then the possibility is still very low.
The problem is that we do not realise that blue collar jobs command as much respect as those holding the white collar jobs.
In spite of the fact that we come from rural agrarian background, we feel that dirtying our hands is below our dignity. Is it because we want to shed our rural past? That would be catastrophic to say the least.
The government set up vocational training centres in different parts of the country, basically to ensure that the country would be able to meet the technical manpower at the middle and lower levels. Going by the recent reports that no one appeared for the announced vacancies means that the government had been only wasting its resources in training people, who don’t want to take the jobs that they are trained for.
We have been talking about mismatch between the jobs available and people who have been trained. This issue raised by the MoLHR secretary is a classic example of the problem haunting the employment sector in the country.
Perhaps, one may even blame the introduction of formal education system in the country. But that would unacceptable. Having acquired an education, to whatever level it might be, does not mean that you will end up behind a big desk. I you want that big desk; you will have to make one yourself by the dint of your hard work.
There will always be problems with regard to placement of relevant candidates into the right slot. It has happened in many professions. Such things shouldn’t happen in technical field. However, placements are also determined by supply and demand.
There was a time when all graduates were immediately absorbed in the civil service. It is no more possible. The civil service can only accept so much.
So job is what we want and we don’t want to work. Looking across the window at the construction site next to our office, we have seen a lone woman supervising the construction works, among other workers. She is not the owner because it is a government construction site.
We know she is a VTI graduate supervising the works.

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