Perth, Australia

Private sector lost around 4,000 employees to Australia and other countries: BCCI

The country is currently facing a high attrition rate due to the trend of employees leaving their jobs for Australia or other countries. Many private sector employees have gone to Australia, Canada, US, UK and the Middle East in search of better economic opportunities. 

Due to the tight economic situation in the private sector, business owners have roughly lost around 4,000 employees to the trend according to the Bhutan Chamber for Commerce & Industry (BCCI).

The BCCI said that attrition in the private sector is very high, and many companies big and small lost roughly around 25 percent of their employees, including those who were experienced and skilled, to other countries.

The BCCI has come up with the 4,000 approximate figure based on estimates from the various associations under it.

According to the Acting Secretary General of BCCI, Chandra Chettri, the trend is very alarming.

“We are losing skills and it is impacting organizational efficiency. Human resource capacity, performance efficiency, service delivery is negatively impacted. We don’t want to lose people, but we don’t have the capacity to retain them,” he said.

So far, attrition is highest in the hotel sector with approximately over 50 percent of their employees leaving. The officiating Chair of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan (HRAB), Tshewang Jurmey, said that about 30 percent of them might have left for opportunities in other countries. “30 percent of the hotel industries’ employees must have either gone to Kuwait, Middle East or Australia.”

According to the Executive Director of HRAB, Sangeeta Rana, the impact of people leaving for Australia is huge. She shared that people leaving has hampered the industry, but the biggest concern is how even new recruits are leaving their jobs in a few months after getting employed. 

The capacity to retain the employees has been impacted by the current business situation caused by lack of enough tourists.

According to Tshewang, some hotels have been closed down and some are not functioning. “All businesses are badly affected and performing badly due to lack of tourists.”

Similarly, the construction sector is also facing attrition. According to the President of Construction Association of Bhutan, Trashi Wangyel, almost 200 employees have left the construction sector. “We are losing almost 2-3 people from a firm, and it is mostly experienced degree engineers. It has impacted us negatively, in terms of planning and resource management, and it also compromises the workforce as experienced workers leave.”

The Chairman of the Guide Association of Bhutan, Garab Dorji shared that about 1,000 guides have left their positions with about 500 having gone to Australia, Canada and US and another 100 or 200 leaving for the Middle East.

Currently, there are also cases of some successful businesses shutting down and moving to Australia. According to some people, these can be attributed to policies and environment that does not constitute for a flourishing private sector.

“Policy interventions, fiscal monetary measures, access to credit, suspended loan schemes, availability of currencies and sustainable development fee can be some of the reasons why business are shutting down and moving to Australia. Ease of doing business and freedom of doing business is very restricted, and the pull factor for Australia is growing each day,” said a businessman.

With employees leaving, and now with some businesses moving to Australia, it seems that the trend will continue and keep on growing exponentially for now. The country’s workforce is leaving, and it is likely that attrition will continue.

The attrition has also put a pressure on those left behind. BCCI’s President Tandy Wangchuk shared that attrition also creates a financial burden on employers.

“When people leave for better opportunities, it’s a burden on the employer in terms of financial services. When employees leave, they will have to be paid their gratuity and some private sector companies face burden in paying off gratuity when many people leave.”

Sustaining employees is also a burden as most don’t have the capacity to offer better remunerations and better amenities. With a tight economic status, and the workforce leaving the country, with such high attrition, Tandy Wangchuk shares that it is a huge concern for the economy.

“With the number of people leaving the country, the economy is hampered. With less population, economic growth will be hampered. The capacity of the domestic market is not very encouraging, so it is not a healthy trend for the economy,” the BCCI President said.

“Our financing and investment landscape must evolve to support a dynamic model of economic growth, one that is led by innovation.”

He said, “We need cyclical measures for continued access to financing, measures for distressed borrowers to manage debt burdens, reinforce the finance ecosystem or microenterprise for sustainable and inclusive growth and we must strengthen vibrancy and resilience of financial markets to act as an absorber of risks.”

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