The Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) found that during the 11th Five Year Plan, several measures were initiated in various sectors to boost employment opportunities in the country. Over the period of five years, majority of the jobs have been created by cottage and small industry (CSI) which now employs 84,052 people in 2017 as compared to 57,469 in 2013, an increase of 26,583 employment opportunities being created in the 11th plan, and in the tourism sector employment opportunities increased from 20,372 in 2013 to 29,827 in 2017, which is an increase of 9,455 more jobs being created.
The report by GNHC states that several employment generation schemes were initiated with about 5,402 Bhutanese youth employed through the overseas employment scheme and about 6,128 were employed through direct employment scheme in various private and corporate agencies and the youth startups created about 419 jobs.
Consequently, unemployment rate reduced from 2.9 percent in 2013 to 2.1 percent in 2016 as per the labour force survey.
The study found that various initiatives were also undertaken to create an enabling environment such as the Bhutan Labour Market Information System was developed to provide easier access to labour market information, e-registration system was initiated to maintain data of guaranteed employment program participants, an online labour administration system was developed to enable labour officers and inspectors to provide inspection report online, National Appreciation Award was instituted to recognize and reward successful young entrepreneurs, and Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute was completed in 2016 where three power training courses were launched.
Hydropower sector in 2013 employed 5,853 people whereas during the 11th plan the numbers reached 12,727 people being employed, which is an increase of 6874 new jobs being created.
There was also increase in jobs being created in the FDI sector from 2,849 people being employed in 2013 to 4,879 employed in 2017. However, employment opportunities in the mining sector dropped from 1,374 in 2013 to 1,250 in 2017.
The number of startups increased from 420 to more than 1,096 startups in the current plan. Employment opportunities in the agricultural sector increased from 189,245 in 2013 to more than 198,429 employment opportunities. More than 6,212 youth have been employed in the current plan, which has been facilitated by the labour ministry. And the SOEs employed more than 1,449 youth in the 11th plan which takes the number to 5,522 youth working with SOEs today. Studies have indicated that Bhutan’s labour productivity is one of the lowest in the region. Labor productivity measures the amount of real gross domestic product (GDP) produced by an hour of labour.
However, it has been found that youth unemployment still remains a challenge, particularly due to the mismatch between expectations of the youth and labour market realities.
It has also been found that most of the educated youth, that constitute majority of the growing ranks of the unemployed, do not have the employable skills, knowledge, aptitude required by the labour market.
Therefore, GNHC has recommended for enhancement of Technical and Vocational Education and Training system (TVET) such as, improvement in training delivery, development of a responsive curriculum, strengthening the capacity of the instructors and upgrading the training facilities. This is expected to ensure the quality and relevance of the vocational education and training program.
It is also recommended that there is the need to collectively collaborate with the Local Government in enhancing the local economy and creation of job opportunities.
GNHC also pointed out the need to improve value and dignity of the blue collared jobs.
It also recommends the need to link the entrepreneurship program with that of the priority sector lending initiative of the Royal Monetary Authority.