Staff Reporter 

Bhutan must create demand for employment in the digital work ecosystem to boost the digital economy, indicated a report titled ‘Digital Jobs in Bhutan: Demand Creation and Future Skilling.’

Launched on November 9, the report recommends that the government leverage its globally recognised brand and the tourism industry to promote Bhutan as an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the ICT sector.

The country should also recruit global talents to build the capacity of a local innovation ecosystem.

The report recommends that the country prepare its workforce through rigorous skilling to fuel the local innovation ecosystem for a digital nation. This skilled workforce, it states, must meet the demand for skills that are required for Bhutan’s future digital economy.

The pandemic crisis, through its multidimensional impacts, has exposed and amplified the vulnerabilities of the existing workforce, resulting in job and income losses. As of July 2020, over 13,000 people had lost their jobs to the pandemic and nearly 30,000 Bhutanese were seeking jobs.

“The report provides important insights and recommendations for preparing our younger generation for the ‘future of work’ in the digital arena and also make Bhutan a potential destination for FDIs,” Labour and Human Resources Minister Karma Dorji said, adding that the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources would take on the recommendations.

UNDP Resident Representative Azusa Kubota said digital systems and technological innovation could enable countries to leapfrog hurdles to growth and assist in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our one-year-long partnership with the government in understanding the complex challenge of youth employment and engagement through a systems lens has also clearly pointed to digital jobs as opportunities that must be tapped into,” she said.

She added that the report recommends that Bhutanese youth venture into opportunities such as freelancing, gaming, non-fungible tokens, and credential education as alternative certifications.

“Some already exist in Bhutan, and the possibilities to tap into more are enormous. I urge the government to particularly consider skills requirements in the orange sector, and UNDP is ready to partner,” she added.

Funded by the Government of Japan, the preparation of the report was supported by UNDP as part of its Covid-19 response and recovery project, “Innovation for a Smarter, Greener, and More Resilient 21st Century Bhutan”.