The 15th National Job Fair from 17th to 18th May hosted a total of 53 exhibitors offering 4,459 job vacancies, whereby 2,205 are in-country vacancies, 1,421 are overseas vacancies and 833 training opportunities with jobs to be given after the training. Representatives of companies from Kuwait, India and from the language institutes in Japan are present at the job fair opening.
Every year, the job fairs are organized in the four regions and end with the National Job Fair in the capital around this time.
Director General, MoLHR, Sherab Tenzin, said that the job fairs bring together potential employers and jobseekers, face to face, enabling them to understand each other as well as the jobs and manpower available in the labour market.
“We are confident that many youth visiting the fair will find jobs and training opportunities that match their interests,” he added. He also said that unemployment is a global phenomenon, whereby Bhutan’s unemployment rate is below 2.1 percent, and doing extremely well by any standards.
However, he said that as a result of the free education granted by the Royal Government, unemployment among educated youth has been a source of concern. Some of the likely reasons cited for existence of unemployment of among educated youth are mismatch of jobs and skills, youth’s aspirations and attitude to blue collar jobs, strong joint family structure, etc.
Lack of jobs or want of opportunities is not one of the reasons, he said, adding that, towards addressing the causes of unemployment, the ministry has been relentlessly implementing many innovative programs.
He said steps are being staking to bridge the gaps of skill. In addition, the ministry is providing direct stipend support for those opting to work in private firms, CSOs or state owned enterprises. There are also entrepreneurship programs for those interested in businesses. “Since many youth are interested in working overseas, the ministry has also been pushing hard on finding placements abroad,” he added.
Over 25,000 youth have benefited from the ministry’s programs during the past five years. According to MoLHR, placing 500 youth in Japan in 2017 represents a major breakthrough in finding a new overseas destination for the youth.
“Overseas placements help us to achieve the short-term engaging youth in the immediate, and the long term goal of building a highly skilled workforce and a robust economy from remittances, experiences and business links that our youth will bring back,” the Director General (DG) said.
According to the DG, the IT graduates placed in Japan will soon be working in sophisticated high tech industries, developing robots and artificial intelligence. He said there are possibilities of such industries being relocated in countries like Bhutan. “We are, therefore, confident that in spite of the initial hiccups and some negative vibes that we have had, our overseas initiatives will benefit the country long into the future.”
Meanwhile, Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay, during the fair inaugural, said there are many people who choose to remain jobless because they don’t want to take up the jobs which are offered to them, and this way both the jobseekers and parents are left disheartened.
Lyonchhen said that the agents from overseas are very much interested in offering jobs to the Bhutanese people due to the good quality education and hard work put in by the Bhutanese people.
“If jobseekers are looking for a job, the job opportunity in the country has grown compared to the past years. There are opportunities in farming sector, hotels, trainings, etc.,” he added.
With the increasing job vacancies both in-country and overseas, Lyonchhen said that the jobseekers should give their best and make a better choice. “All the exhibitors should reach the required information to the youth, whereby they can have a better understanding in taking up the job,” he added.
He also said that the youth working overseas so can stand to gain good experience and make a good earning. “With all this, I hope every jobseeker in the country would make an effort to get their expected jobs”, he added.
Talking to some of the jobseekers, Norbu, a fresh graduate, said that she will directly try for the overseas job opportunity. She said, “Even if we get job in Bhutan, the salary is too less to make a living, whereas if we get selected for overseas, at least we can make some savings as they provide all the food and lodging facilities.”
Norbu is confident that working abroad will help her gain exposure to new work environment, and experience. She said she is open to meeting different people and to exchange culture and tradition and language.
Similarly, Tshering Dhendup, an engineering degree holder, said that an engineer can get a job easily in Bhutan, however, the salary is dismal. “I came for a better opportunities but it is sad for me to see that we will get only Nu 20,000 a month which is equivalent to waitress and waiter in overseas,” he added.
This is why, he said, many Bhutanese prefer to get job outside country because at the end of the day, what matters is the money. “If this is the scenario then I would better try for overseas as screen officer or sales associate with Nu 50,000 per month,” he added.
The overseas agents are attracting a maximum number of jobseekers at the fair. An official from BISHT overseas employment agency said that he has received more than 150 applications in one day, and it might go up to 300 in two days’ time. The company plans to conduct interviews in a week’s time.
During the inaugural, Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay also launched the Bhutan Search Job App. The app provides information on the job opening and availability in the country including the overseas vacancies, and thus making it easier for job seekers to look for job vacancies that are relevant to them.