55 percent of the jobseekers are unskilled 

Yangchen C Rinzin

Four jobseekers with Master’s Degree and 139 university graduates are among the 1,067 jobseekers registered with the Build Bhutan Project (BBP) that was launched last week.

On the demand side, 110 employers have registered with the project with a demand of 1,985 workers.  In an attempt to meet the shortage of workers in the construction sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the labour ministry launched the BBP on July 1.


Of the total registered, 65 percent are male. More than 50 percent of the registered jobseekers are unskilled. While only about 25 percent skilled are diploma certificate holders.

There are 352 class XII, and 183 class X graduates. 140 are diploma holders or graduates from the technical training institutes. Rest of the applicants are either without academic qualification or with a monastic education background.

The project with a budget of Nu 1,040 million is aimed to ease unemployment and layoffs by filling the gap in the construction sector. The project was designed to employ unemployed people registered with the ministry, laid-off employees, employees on unpaid leave during the pandemic and returnees from overseas. Details on the categorisation of those jobseekers registered were not available.

The project will train job seekers, reskill them, or improve their skills in construction trades leading to national certification.

More than 50 percent of the jobseekers preferred to be engaged directly in the field while the rest of them indicated to undergo training and reskilling. A few did not specify.

Of the 1,985 workforces required, 55 percent of the employers have specified they require unskilled workers. Around 80 percent of the construction works are building construction, bridges and roads.

Going by the record, the majority of the employers require masons followed by the carpenter, welders, plumbers, electricians, painters and excavator operators. Most of the projects are located in Thimphu, Sarpang, Chukha, Paro, and Samdrupjongkhar.

Labourer minister, Ugyen Dorji said that the registration of the employers was done as per the location of the project and some employers would have more than one project.

“So, the number of employers could be counted twice. The actual number could be less than 110,” lyonpo said. The ministry will now verify the data and allocate the registered jobseekers based on the requirement.

However, lyonpo said that employers should not expect the ministry to source out the employee right away, as data screening and matchmaking to meet the demand is going to be a complex process.

“We’ll try our best, but it’s a known fact that there is already a shortage of skilled labourers. We need to rationalise and train the jobseekers,” lyonpo added. “Those jobseekers who have registered for direct engagement can be placed directly to the project after verification.”

Jobseekers under the BBP will be given training through a compressed unstructured training programme with 20 percent of it conducted at the technical training institutes, as foundational courses and the remainder 80 percent at the designated companies in the form of on-the-job training or attachment.

Screening is expected to complete in the next few days. However, registration will be open throughout.

The employers will also have to provide accommodation until the project is completed. The government will add 15 percent of monthly wage based on the worker’s level of skills. BBP will contribute 10 percent of the employee’s basic salary to the PF where employers are asked to add five percent.

With the aim to engage about 7,000 individuals over a period of two years, Lyonpo said that the registered number is encouraging and gives confidence that the project will be a success.

“We’re glad that we have started the project. This would help change people’s mindset towards the construction sector.”