Published:  12:38 AM, 11 October 2017

Employment opportunity in Bangladesh still a far cry!

Employment opportunity in Bangladesh still a far cry!

The whole nation is deeply concerned about Rohingya crisis and the turmoil is still going on as there is no visible solution yet! By the way, some of our countrymen, even the media, raised their voice and expected that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina could win the Nobel for peace this year as she has shown kindness to about one million Rohingya people.

There are lots of issues we encounter every day. Some go viral in different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. People raise voice against those and go even farther to arrange for what could simply be said as media trial to ensure justice against the unjust! Well, I want to draw the attention of all towards such an issue that occurred in this country several days back.

A job fair was held on 5 October at Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park in Jessore. More than 30 local and foreign companies invited curriculum vitae from jobseekers for spot recruitment. More than 10 thousand unemployed youths dropped ten and a half bags of CVs. The number of jobseekers was beyond the expectation of the authorities and they found it extremely hard to tackle them. It is worth mentioning here that the organizers expected only 2-3 thousand participants.

The mass of job candidates made it like a public procession and the law enforcement agencies had to offer baton charge in order to cope with the difficult situation. Those who could not get inside the fair venue threw their CVs in from out of the Park gate.

The news and photos of the fair heated the people and industry insiders expressed their worries following the situation. The conscious section of the country asked a serious question: What will be done with these CVs? Are they going to be evaluated at all?

The horrible scenario at the job fair however reflected the very truth regarding unemployment problem in Bangladesh. Educated youths are literally crying for a job to support themselves and their families. The incidents of one committing suicide for being unable to get a job are not insufficient, too!

After visiting the spot Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) President Mustafa Jabbar said, "What I observed on 5 October in Jessore was simply awful. I saw thousands of young people were trying to submit CVs overtaking the police bar! I have never seen such a situation before. Then the question arose, what did we do with them? I used to tell them for keeping the country's map in the chest, to stay honest and sincere and get the skills in particular. ICT is not only coding or programming but there are 4,800 types of businesses related with IT."

He went on saying, "Our problem is very different. The students cannot get new skills after they leave curricula, textbooks behind. They only need training and we are trying to provide accordingly but the outcome is not good enough!"

Ex-BASIS president Fahim Mashroor wrote on his Facebook wall: "I was watching the picture of the job fair on Facebook. It is a part of the fact that unemployment problem in the country really exists. I have been saying for the last few years that we could not be able to benefit from 'demographic dividend.' Actually we are going towards 'demographic disaster'."

There are some who wish to get a government job and this is their only target! They pass their life developing a close affair with traditional books with grasping information like where the headquarters of the United Nations is and so on! But irrelevant quota system in government jobs has frustrated the young jobseekers. There are about 55 percent posts are reserved for quota holders, while only 45 percent are for the meritorious. It's time to think if we are spoiling our meritorious students through this quota system.

On the other hand, question paper leak is another common phenomenon in Bangladesh. A syndicate always interrupts the exam system by leaking question papers, and this practice has become most rampant over the last few years. According to a recent report released by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), from January 2012-15, at least 63 question papers of different public exams including JSC, PSC exams were leaked. The phenomenon has gone too high as smart generations use social media to collect the leaked questions through digital channels. However, nobody knows where it is going to end!

Although like the number of job applicants increased, the number of vacancies also stood at 3 lakh two thousand 904 posts in government jobs in the country, which is more than 18 percent of the total posts. Of the vacant posts, 39,564 are first class, 30 thousand 422 second class, 1 lakh 63 thousand 417 third class and 69 thousand 501 are fourth class. Public administration officials often complained that these posts are empty due to lack of activities in the ministries.

Let's have a look at some other data about the employment of Bangladesh. According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics' Labour Force Survey data, the country could add only 14 lakh jobs between 2013 and fiscal 2015-16, down from 40 lakh jobs it had added between 2010 and 2013. The country's labor force stood at 6.21 crore at the end of fiscal 2015-16, of which 5.95 crore are gainfully employed.

The size of labor force at the end of 2013 was 6.07 crore. Expert of the country see, Bangladesh has been performing creditably on the economic front and its gross domestic product (GDP) has been growing steadily at a rate of 6.0 to 7.0 percent annually over the years. But employment opportunities for the people and their earnings have not increased.

However, recently Bangladesh has been experiencing an unchanged unemployment situation, worsened and a total of about 61 million people are either partly or fully unemployed.  In a dialogue on budget 2017-18, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said that the country is moving towards a great depression of joblessness. As steady rate of growth failed to generate enough employment, rate of educated unemployed in the country has exceeded 30 percent.

Lastly, an unemployment youth always suffers from frustration and social identity crisis. They feel pressure from the family and society as they have heavyweight certificates, but no job. The government should come forward with some sustainable policies to fill the gaps and create work opportunities to change the existing scenario.

The writer is a Senior Reporter  at The Asian Age

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