According to the establishment survey report 2017 released by the labour ministry, a total of 563 economic units were not able to fill job openings for past one year.

A total of 1,717 establishments were surveyed.

Of the total unfilled job openings, 55.1 percent was in tourism sector, followed by 34.6 percent in manufacturing, 6.4 percent in mining, and 3.9 percent in hydropower sector.

The survey was conducted to understand the current scenario of potential sectors in tourism, hydropower, manufacturing and mining and to comprehend the challenges faced by the sectors.

From 1,717 economic units covered by the survey, 69 percent was from the tourism, followed by manufacturing (27 percent), and hydropower (0.6 percent).

The statistics collected were based on the survey conducted between January 21 and February 19 by 30 enumerators, 10 supervisors, and three regional field coordinators.

About half of the employers or economic units surveyed expressed difficulty finding specific skills or non-skills in job applicants in the past one year. About 41.4 percent stated that they were not able to get the non-skills, character-related values of applicants such as good work habits and problem solving skills.

The survey also documented that 1,364 economic units surveyed had reported having no difficulty finding qualified applicants during the past one year. Some 353 employers reported having experienced difficulty finding qualified applicants.

As a result, 27.4 percent of employers settled for hiring less-qualified applicant, while 26.3 percent left the vacancy unfilled.

More than 51.5 percent of economic units indicated that they had plan for expansion because of increased demand for goods and services, product diversification, and easily availability of raw materials. About 48.5 percent had no plan to expand their businesses because of market competition, lack of demand for goods and services, lack of skilled manpower, and scarcity of raw materials.

The survey found that total Bhutanese workers in tourism, manufacturing and mining sectors increased to 20,205 in 2016 from 19,562 in 2015. Worker decrease by 782 was observed in hydropower sector as was the case with female workers that declined by 306.

Foreign workers also increased to 3,316 in 2016 from 3,188 in 2015. Female foreign workers decreased by 186.

Majority of the employees were categorised as regular paid employees. Bhutanese regular paid employees constituted 81.7 percent.

Majority of surveyed economic units did not provide or pay for any classroom training, workshops or seminars for any employees during the past one year. More than 90 percent of employers indicated that the employee skills required had stayed the same.

Yangchen C Rinzin