Yearender/Labour: The Wood Female Sheep year saw a flock of jobseekers, a total of about 23,180, registered at the online job portal system with the labour ministry.

The online job portal system claimed to have placed about 11,269 jobseekers from June 1, 2014 to October last year. They were placed in various government, private, corporation and non-governmental organizations including the overseas employment programme. About 11,911 still remains to find a job.

The main challenge, as usual, was the lack of ‘job experience’, which was required for any allotted vacancy in an organization. Graduates and jobseekers alike were frustrated by the requirements these job vacancies imposed. For a graduate level entry, a minimum of two to three years of job experience was required, which drove many graduates up the wall.

The overall unemployment rate in the country dropped from 2.9 percent in 2013 to 2.6 percent in 2014, taking the overall employment to 97.4 percent. This, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, during the meet the press sessions held last year, said that by definition of the International Labour Organization, Bhutan has achieved the overall full employment of 97.5 percent.

The ministry aims to reduce the overall unemployment rate to less than 2.5 percent by the end of the 11th Plan.

Despite the overall unemployment rate seeing a slight drop, the overall youth unemployment still remained high at 9.4 percent, out of which female youth unemployment rate was at the highest at 10 percent in the Sheep year. By the end of the 11th Plan, the labour ministry aims to reduce the youth unemployment rate to 2.5 percent and female youth unemployment rate to five percent.

In a hope to fully understand the perception of unemployed youth in the country, the labour ministry conduced unemployed youth perspective survey. Conducted for the first time, the survey found out that the level of education alone is not sufficient to secure a gainful employment today.

The type of education and skills a jobseeker possesses is equally vital and that the existing mismatch between jobseekers and available jobs is not because of the level of education.

Work experience, duration of formal training, interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to work in a team also attributed for the mismatch.

The survey also found that a lack of experience, nepotism and lack of employability skills was the top three reasons youth jobseekers perceived for not getting through an interview. An overwhelming majority of youth (77.3 percent) preferred desk jobs and associated poor working conditions, low salary, and low social status with non-desk jobs.

 Thinley Zangmo