More than 33 percent of the industries in the three sectors face skilled labour shortages

Employment: In an effort to align the labour supply to the employer’s demand, the labour ministry has developed a National Workforce Plan (NWFP) for three economic sectors like tourism, construction and production.

The plan is also expected to equip students with skills required by the industry, and foster acquisition of higher skills and learning among the workforce for greater productivity within the industry.

Labour minister Nyeema Sangay Tshempo, during the launch of the document last month, said that the three sectors are identified as one of the five jewels, and priority sectors as per the country’s economic development policy due to its growth and employment potential.

A short-term (2016–18) and medium term (2019–22) forecast of workforce requirement in the three sectors has been made, Lyonpo added. “The NWFP will serve as an important guiding document on labour market signal for the two Plan periods.”

Critical skills gap and shortage in the three sectors have also been identified in the NWFP.

Lack of experienced workers and internal resources to support training and development of their workers and shortage of skilled and qualified workforce in the labour market, are some of the major challenges faced by the industries in the country.

The labour ministry also found that the employers frequently encounter high turnover due to lack of worker’s commitment to the job and workplace while it was also found that workers negotiated for higher salary and work flexibility.

The findings of the ministry’s survey conducted with the three sectors reveal that skills mismatch is a big concern in the country. The skills gap is high in the construction sector followed by production sector.

An official with the human resource development division of the labour ministry, said that while the graduates are not able to find a job, the industries find it difficult to get skilled and qualified people.

More than 33 percent of the industries in the three sectors are found to face skills shortage.

The official said that an overwhelmingly high number of the industries indicated that the skills they are looking for are not available in the country. Meanwhile, the industries claimed that required talents are not available in their business location, affecting the productivity and performance of the businesses.

Besides the industries’ preference to hire someone who has work experience in similar fields, the ministry’s survey found that majority of the industries in all the three sectors indicated their strong preference to hire someone with attitude, loyalty, communication skills, and customer relation skills, among others.

It was also found that there is high demand for skilled workers.  The sectors have potential to create employment for different skilled categories. The NWFP states that the tourism sector will generate about 3,900 jobs in 2016-18 and about 6,500 jobs in 2019–22 while the constriction sector will create about 30,000 and 33,000 jobs in 2016–18 and 2019–22 respectively. The production sector can create about 2,200 and 2,500 jobs.

Higher investment and priority in skilling, complementing education and training with employment skills, providing greater focus on entrepreneurship efforts, foreign worker’s approach, improving workforce-planning process, developing a sustainable fund for skilling effort, among others, are the workforce development strategies highlighted in the NWFP.

The Australian government through support from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Queensland University of Technology assisted in building the capacity of relevant officials in workforce planning and development.

More than 2,500 representatives from the industries, Technical and Vocational Education and Trainings (TVET) institutions, tertiary institutions and relevant government agencies were involved in developing the NWFP.

Dechen Tshomo