Monday, September 1, 2008

the farce that is unemployment

There is so much talk about unemployment, and it seems more to be about political groupings, privilege, promises, pandering to parties and perceptions and nothing to do with reality.
Once the Middle East opened up for employment, there is an opening for anyone skilled or not to leave the land in search of some form of employment and there are agencies ever willing to find recruits to send.
Ask any employer and he or she will say it is hard for them to fill job vacancies. I am short of labor in all fields and my business is suffering because of it. There are over 50,000 vacancies in the garment sector, and even in tea estates finding labor is a very big problem. Of course there are many times more applicants than places for government jobs, because it is still considered desirable to have as there is some sort of security of tenure and a pension at age 55, however many of these jobs are in fact detrimental to the efficient working of the economy as many government servants are a hindrance to development not a help as they should be.
The issue is the lack of availability of positions people want, and accordingly people would rather not work until they get the job they want. The higher quality of life in Sri Lanka as compared with most countries in the west or east, is the reason for many able bodied people just to stay and home and do very little, wasting their and the nation’s investment in them rather than taking up employment. This is at the nub of the problem.
The security forces including the Police and Home guard employ over 600,000 and a further 400,000 are employed as security guards. These jobs contribute little to the economy, but whose incomes contribute much to the livelihoods and sustenance of the villages. This adds to rationale of why there are many at home not in any hurry to get work. I know so many in this situation. The policy makers however are quite unaware of this.
To summarize this dilemma, those who are not working are doing so out of choice and not out of necessity as there are plenty of employment opportunities. If they want better paid employment they should obtain better skills, which the government can enable by establishing or expanding on the skills programs, they should accordingly realize the limits of their capability and get jobs in keeping with their abilities and not aspirations.

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