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Despite the decrease in overall unemployment in the country to 2.5 percent in 2015 from 2.9 percent in 2013, the unemployment among youth remains a major concern.

Labour and human resources minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, while delivering the opening speech of the 14th national job fair yesterday, said the youth unemployment rate was estimated at 10.7 percent in 2015 compared to 9.4 percent in 2014.

“The female youth unemployment has also become concern after it increased to 12.7 percent in 2015 from 10.0 percent in 2014,” the minister said.

He said that the youth unemployment, mostly class 12 and university graduates, are higher in the urban centres than in rural areas.

Work location choices, where almost all the job seekers prefer to work in urban, job seekers waiting for the right choice of job they aspire, corporate and private companies looking for experienced workers, and mismatch of skills, according to the minister, are some of the reasons for unemployment.

Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said the aim of conducting such job fair is to provide platform for the employers and job seekers to interact and recruit on the spot.

Forty-one private, corporate and government firms have participated in the job fair with 1,161 job vacancies. Of the job vacancies, 759 were for class 10 graduates and 31 with no specific qualification.

Some overseas employment agencies also attended the fair and offered job vacancies, training opportunities and job information.

Three state-owned enterprises also took part in the fair.

More than 1,600 job seekers, including class 10 graduates and with master degree attended the fair yesterday.

Job seekers expressed that experience and limited slots were two things that they were disappointed with every time when they attend national job fair. They claim it was no different yesterday.

University graduates claimed most of the jobs available were only for class 10 and 12 graduates.

Deki, 23, who completed class 12, said although the job seekers are informed that job experience is not important yet, all application forms mandate experience.

“I have completed class 12 last year. How will I have one-year experience,” she said. “I am trying my luck as a receptionist.”

Another job seeker, Kunzang Choden, said she has a certificate from youth employment skills that guaranteed her a job while taking up the training by the ministry but she is still jobless because she was asked to look for a job herself.

“I’ve been trying everywhere for a job,” she said.

She claimed that even in the fair yesterday, there were few slots for stock’s inventory, in which she has experience.

“I have been photocopying applications, applying everywhere that I have plenty of application forms lying in the house, which would fill two sacks,” a class 12 graduate, Devika, said. “I wanted to try for accountant but sadly only one slot was available.”

Many also claimed that after learning there was not much vacancy available in Bhutan, they are trying for overseas employment.

Meanwhile, labour ministry’s job portal showed that 35,032 job seekers registered with the system from July 2013 to April 2017.

The minister said that total of 22,094 job seekers have been placed in various government, private, corporate and non-government organizations through regular placement schemes and overseas employment program.

“We’ve engaged 5,504 job seekers under the internship programs, 1,601 under the entrepreneurship development program and 529 through apprenticeship training program.

Ngeema Sangay Tshempo claimed that there are only about 5,205 unemployed in the job portal as of now.

Yangchen C Rinzin

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