When an IT company, Southtech Bhutan Private Limited (SBPL), planned to train and recruit IT graduates, it thought there were over a thousand unemployed IT graduates ready to take up the offer.
However, according to the Chief Executive Officer, SBPL, Pema Tashi, only 140 applicants registered for the training. Out of that number, only 90 turned up for the interview and 30 were selected. Further, 6 selected applicants dropped out.
The company managed to get only 25 trainees for the 50 vacant seats announced. “Had realistic figures been given, our projection also would have been more realistic. We now have a half filled training room,” said Pema Tashi.
After the lukewarm response, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) re-announced the vacancy online and through SMS. “Perhaps the unemployment statistic in regard to IT graduates needs cleaning up,” Pema Tashi said.
The weakness in updating the list of jobseekers on the portal is also seen as one of the main reasons as to why vacancy notices, through SMS from the system, keep going out to people even after they are employed. Also, information on a new vacancy is registered before the employment status of a jobseeker is uploaded in the system.
As of December 2015, the total number of IT graduates registered in the job portal system as jobseekers is reflected as 439, even though some of the IT graduates are already employed while some may be still unemployed.
On the other hand another major problem has been the low level of interest showed by people who have registered and are still unemployed. While many are registered only a few turn up for the final job interviews.
According to the MoLHR, in charge of the job portal site, if a registered jobseeker is directly employed by an employer and does not update the information or status of being employed in the job portal, then it is possible that he or she will continue to be reflected as a jobseeker, leading to information in the system being incorrect.
Department of Employment, MoLHR, is now updating the status of all job seekers by calling each and every individual registered in the job portal. This exercise is expected to take over a month’s timeframe. The job portal is also being redesigned to automatically update the information in every three months’ time. The employers will also be required to submit a list of employees to the ministry.
SBPL had planned to go for big and establish a sizeable development center in Bhutan to cater to outsourcing works. However, with the current number of IT workers, the company cannot qualify for outsourcing works for major clients overseas, and have to depend on its sister company, Southtech Ltd based in Dakota, to provide outsourcing works. In addition, it will also source works from within the domestic market.
Pema Tashi said, “We need to factor in the realities regarding expansion in future since we could not achieve our target this time.” Adding that through experience of interaction with candidates, the company also found out that the IT graduates in the country could do better with industry exposure and internship, in real sense, instead of sitting out their internship duration in a government organization where they do not get opportunity to learn much.
Presently, the company has shifted its operations from the incubation unit located on the ground floor of the IT Park to a commercial space on the top floor with extra space and infrastructure for pre-planned accommodation of 50 new candidates and existing 14 workers.
“We remain optimistic and have confidence in the Bhutanese IT graduates to learn and develop as IT professionals and help realize the vision of making SBPL a renowned software development house providing solutions to both domestic and overseas clients,” Pema Tashi said.
SBPL was established to provide IT/ITES services. The company is training 23 IT graduates and 2 B.Com graduates, recruited under Guaranteed Skills Program (GSP), for six- month duration, which started on January 18. After which the trainees will be recruited as regular employees to work on developing ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution made-to-order for Bhutan and other products.