Filling a future shortfall
8 May, 2009 – The Royal Education Council’s projections that we could be facing a severe shortage of skilled workers in a number of specialised areas 10 years down the line puts a fresh perspective to our growing unemployment situation, which stands at 3.7 percent today.
We already face a shortage of professionals, in health for example, but our focus on the issue has so far been more on the thousands that join the job market each year and their reluctance to take up blue-collar professions.
At the same time, those that have gone through the vocational institutions created to empower job seekers with specialised skills are facing difficulties finding jobs in an industry that prefers imported labour, who are easier to manage and more willing to put in the extra hour.
While this scenario is for real, what the study does bring into focus are areas where job seekers could find opportunities in the future. These are the high-end hotel industry, the IT industry, the health sector and the construction and power industries.
In 2020, the hotel industry is projected to face a 70 percent shortage and the IT industry a 40 percent shortage, as the high-end hotel industry expands with tourism and more of Bhutan goes online. Shortages are also expected in the construction and power industries, with several mega projects billed to start at the same time.
These projections are based on certain assumptions on how the economy might evolve, given the current plan’s emphasis on IT, telecom, hydropower and tourism. The suggestion here is that the education system should start planning towards meeting future demands of the industry by matching education and training. If this is not done, it would be the same old story of having to hire workers from outside, like we do now.
Such future planning may not completely solve our unemployment problem, but it can surely help to ease the situation and accordingly empower future job seekers to plan their future.
The hardest work in the world is being out of work