Addressing an issue with the carpet laid bare  

Mahmudur Rahman   | Published: April 26, 2019 21:54:01 | Updated: April 29, 2019 21:48:36

The grim revelation that unemployment has doubled since 1994 suggests that much more is required to be done in the public and private sectors to address the issue. Procrastination in public sector processes is the biggest hurdle towards filling the countless positions that are lying unfilled. Now that the quota dilemma has been resolved, albeit partially, it falls on a speeding up of the internal procedures to preempt candidates from becoming age barred. This is what happened with, of all organisations the Kormosangsthan (Employment) Bank that followed the procedure to recruit some two hundred out of its nearly two and a half thousand headcount permissible. The procedural delay resulted in nearly fifty aspirants becoming age-barred leaving them tearing their hair in frustration.

Rashed Khan Menon MP has piloted a Bill in the Jatiya Sangsad whereby entry-level age for government jobs is to be extended to thirty-two. On the surface such an idea is ridiculous given the continuity of education systems of late. But the fact that government's own processes are at fault means it is worth consideration. Unfortunately we haven't seen the debate that should be taking place in parliament on the issue of working age numbers climbing to 62.7 per cent of the workforce. Against the Five Year Plan, 12 million jobs were to have been generated. Only 7.9 million have been created. Each year 2.0 million enter the job market but out of 100 post-graduate students, 47 remain unemployed. Fourteen plus per cent of doctors and engineers remain unemployed. Among college graduates 66 per cent men and 77 per cent women can't find jobs and they remain unemployed up to three years of passing out. And in terms of labour, 3.0 million job seekers enter the market each year. No one talks about these figures. Instead we get the usual numbers of only employment generated and expatriates sent abroad. Employment is a given for any government. Whether the numbers are in sync with aspiring job-seeker numbers is the key question. And some one somewhere just has to be asking why so many public sector jobs aren't being rapidly being filled.

At some stage, when the 100 special economic zones grind in to business, private sector employment will open up but it is the 'when', rather than the 'if' that is doing the rounds among observers and think tanks. Start-ups are being touted as one answer to unemployment. That's fair enough except that it caters to those unemployed that have the necessary technical know-how. General education aside, specialised individuals such as engineers and doctors are applying anywhere and everywhere for stable jobs in the absence of openings anywhere. Others are trying to develop some kind of trading business models of their own, again in the face of not finding matches for their skills and education. Private and public sector banks have a flood of applications from such individuals whenever employment circulars are issued. Telecommunication sector is another area where any number of specialised skill job seekers apply more out of hope than anything else. But recruitment in that sector has also been balanced by retrenchment in search of better efficiencies. The UNFPA's World Population Report has been scathing in its suggestion that education is a mismatch against skill requirements in the job world of today. This aspect might feature well on Dr Dipu Moni's considerations as she weighs up the existing education system in the country.



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