An estimated 3,000 job seekers, mostly youth, fresh out of training and vocational institutes, thronged the 14th national job fair in Thimphu, which ended Thursday, where a number of employment agencies required prior work experience.
No on-the-spot recruitment was done as job seekers did not have the required documents but were registered and asked to visit the employer’s office with the papers.
A total of 41 employment agencies from the corporate, private and government sector, including overseas employment consultancies, offered jobs and training with preset qualifications.
A class 12 graduate, Passang, said she is hopeful that she’ll get through in one of the three agencies she registered with.
“It is my first time participating and I am quite skeptical on whether the agencies where I’ve registered will respond,” said a graduate. “I’ve been discouraged by my friends who’ve participated in such fairs earlier and said that it is just a waste of time, money, and resources as most of the agencies do not respond like they promised during the fair.”
Another job seeker, Pema Dorji, said most agencies offering jobs have set experience as a prerequisite to register for the job. “We are young job seekers who’ve just completed high school and experience is out of question,” he said.
A diploma holder from Jigme Namgyel Engineering College said the labour ministry should send their officials during recruitment process in the corporate sector to check favoritism and nepotism because such existence is real. “We travel from different places and spend a lot of money to attend the job fair and later we get to know that candidates were preselected, which is very disheartening,” he said.
Labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo in his opening remarks said that although overall unemployment decreased from 2.9% in 2013 to 2.5% in 2015 youth (15-24 years) unemployment has become a major concern.
Youth unemployment rate was estimated at 10.7% in 2015 from 9.4% in 2014. Further, female youth unemployment had increased to 12.7% in 2015 from 10.0% in 2014.
“Youth unemployment is high in the urban areas and most of the unemployed youths are with a general educational background of higher secondary and bachelor’s degree,” said the labour minister.
The minister pointed out that some of the noted reasons behind unemployment are due to preference of workplace as most job seekers prefer cities to rural areas.
Youth are also discouraged by the difference in social protection schemes between government and private sector and the corporate and private sector employers looking only for experienced candidates.
In what appears to be a welcome move the organisers managed the waste after Clean Bhutan made repeated attempts in the past years to persuade the organizers to take responsibility for littering.