Employment: Youth and women unemployment has risen sharply despite the government claiming to have achieved full employment in 2015.

Labour and human resource minister (MoLHR) Ngeema Sangay Tshempo during the 13th national job fair held from May 12-13 said youth and women unemployment is still rising.

“We have achieved full employment in 2015 but the women and youth unemployment has risen sharply with 42,000 jobseekers in the market still,” Lyonpo said.

The minister said that the choices of work locations, working conditions and environment and social protection schemes, among others, are the factors deterring jobseekers from taking up jobs.

For instance, 28 percent of youth jobseekers live in urban centres and look for jobs only in the urban areas. Only 4.8 percent of the 28 percent of youth in search of jobs are willing to work in rural areas.

Employing agencies in the corporate and private sector looking only for experienced candidates is an obstacle for jobseekers.

Jobseekers and their parents’ desire for white-collar jobs in the civil service and private sector are still reasons for unemployment in the country, Lyonpo said.

The labour minister added that they have employed 16,991 of the around 27,000 jobseekers in the last 30 months through employment programmes such as the Direct Employment Scheme, Overseas Employment Scheme, and Graduate Skills Program, among others.  Around 5,190 were engaged in various internship and training programmes. But 5,556 are still unemployed.

Labour and human resources chief employment officer Ugyen Tenzin said that the women unemployment rate in 2014 was 10 percent. The youth unemployment stood at 8.6 percent. “Demographically the female population is higher than the men in the country. There are also more number of women with higher secondary education backgrounds,” Ugyen Tenzin said.

He added that the majority of women preferring desk to manual jobs resulted in more women without employment. However, to address women unemployment, the ministry has started overseas employment programmes.

“Overseas employment programmes targets more on women to work outside the country like Qatar, Kuwait and India,” Ugyen Tenzin said.

Phuentsholing labour regional office employment officer Ugyen Dorji said that even in the regional areas similar challenges with unemployment are being faced. “The challenge in the region is that most jobseekers are looking for employment in the western region like Thimphu,” Ugyen Dorji said. His office has come to Thimphu to inform the jobseekers of unfilled vacancies from the regional job fair.

Meanwhile, over 1,365 jobseekers from across the country participated in the national job fair where 2,806 vacancies and 436 training opportunities were announced. According to statistics from the ministry 4,262 applicants applied for 2,806 vacancies in 40 different employing agencies.

But some jobseekers were still left disappointed. A graduate from Sherubtse College Sonam Wangdi was shocked when he found that the vacancies were only for cooks, sweepers, drivers, carpenters and technicians. “I was disappointed wondering how graduates could take up such professions,” Sonam Wangdi said, adding he could not imagine him being employed in such professions after spending huge sums of money on education.

The minister however requested jobseekers to take up the available jobs. He also told employing agencies to cut down the age limit and experience requirement to absorb more youth.

“Although, the employing agencies are looking for an experienced worker being profit oriented but we are still requesting to do away with it,” Lyonpo said

The two-day national job fair ended yesterday.

Tshering Dorji | Intern