As elections approach there is a growing drum beat on the issue of youth unemployment by political parties, sections of the media and ‘experts’ on social media.
First off, there is no denying that Bhutan faces a youth unemployment issue as it always has been doing. The detailed Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017 done after 12 years shows that 5,371 youth are unemployed.
However, what is also true is that Bhutan’s private sector is facing an increasing labour shortage problem, as voiced out by the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), that represents Bhutan’s private and commercial sector.
In the words of the BCCI President and others- if something is not done to address this labour shortage then it will restrict the future growth of the private sector.
The bulk of the unfilled 6,373 job vacancies as listed by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources for July 2018 are from the private sector- showing the extent of the problem.
This may be too difficult for some pontificating and self righteous souls to compute, be it in the media or social media, but it is possible to have youth unemployment along with a parallel problem of labour shortage in the private sector.
The simple reason is that youth either do not want these jobs or do not have the skills and aptitude to take them.
However, the growth of the private sector cannot be held ransom to the youth unemployment debate, which only leads to a more inflexible attitude by authorities who discourage the import of much needed foreign or skilled labour to fill up these posts.
Even the Opposition Leader of all people was honest enough to admit the existence of this twin phenomenon in his press conference. One can only hope that his understanding and forthrightness on this issue rubs off on political colleagues and more importantly on some of the pontificating and self righteous professionals.
“Funny thing, employment. If you keep doing it, you keep getting paid.”