It may be too early to jump to conclusions without a study, but recent trends indicate that job openings have increased with many resigning jobs at various levels.

Human resource officers in government and autonomous agencies, public corporations, state-owned enterprises and private firms agree that the number of applicants has reduced manifold with some forced to re-announce vacancies.

Where 200 to 300 applied for one vacancy, the number has decreased by 60 to 70 percent, human resource officers say. There are no applicants for some job openings especially when conditions are attached, like work experience. Worse when employees are bound by contracts to work for at least two to three years.

The openings may be a result of the exodus of Bhutanese, both young university graduates, mid-career employees or senior-level staff even from the civil service. The common gossip in any office these days is about losing people, especially to Australia and a few other countries in the West. Walk into any office talking of people resigning and we will hear them losing about a dozen people. In the meantime, the private sector is losing employees to corporations and SoEs.

The unemployment rate today hovered around 4.8 percent meaning 16, 2524 were looking for jobs last year. While the job openings may be welcome news for job seekers, all jobs are not new openings and cannot be replaced overnight. Some vacant posts are at levels where we need expertise and experience. Replacing critical jobs like teachers, engineers, technicians, bar council-certified lawyers and many more is even more challenging.

A trend becoming clearer is job opening in the country is a  secondary option or a place to gain some experience to move to Australia. This is evident from the two or three-year mandatory conditions when vacancies are announced. High on the antenna of HR officials are also the Australia factor. “Are you planning to go to Australia?” is the most common question during selection interviews.

The trend where university graduates applied for jobs meant for Class XII graduates until recently could also be changing going by HR officials. Some organisations are mulling to recruit Class XII graduates knowing the lesser prospect of quitting midway and heading Down Under.

Australia and a few other developed nations have opened an opportunity to come and study or work. Many leave to secure their future because the prospect is real and immediate. The rush has even made villagers or farmers mortgage their land to borrow and pay tuition fees and look for partners to head to the southern continent in the hope of making lives comfortable.

If this can open up opportunities at home, especially for those who cannot afford to join, it will help ease the unemployment problem. As a small country with a smaller population, we are feeling that everybody is leaving. In Australia or in the US, Bhutanese are what we call salt in the curry or a drop in the ocean.