Lao Economy

Workforce Fails To Meet Needs Of Job Market

Source: Vientiane Times

Balancing the available workforce with the reality of the job market, which includes hiring workers for new jobs and reshuffling officials into new positions, has fallen far short of the annual target, the government told the National Assembly recently.

Only 48,236 people were placed in new jobs over the first 10 months of the 2015-16 fiscal year, representing just 33.68 percent of the annual target set at 143,230 people.

However, the government will strive to place 143,000 people in new jobs and positions in 2017 and maintain the unemployment rate at 2 percent, Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay told parliament’s ongoing ordinary session.

Over the first 10 months of the 2015-16 fiscal year, thousands of new jobs have been created in Laos with at least 2,468 being created through labour recruitment agencies.

In addition, Lao nationals have been sent to work in neighbouring countries while those already there without legal documents have been legalised, bringing the combined number of workers to 45,768, the minister said.

The labour recruitment system has followed the government’s goal to promote the industry and service sectors.

Of the 48,236 people who were placed in new jobs, as many as 29,291 or 60.72 percent entered the service sector, the highest percentage – followed by industry with 13,757 people or 28.52 percent, while only 5,188 people or 10.76 percent entered the agriculture sector.

To meet next year’s target and create more jobs, the government will attempt to provide vocational training for 131,600 people in order to keep the unemployment rate at 2 percent, Dr Souphanh told parliament.

He presented a report that summarised the implementation of the first 10 months of the socio-economic development plan, expectations for the plan for the whole year, and the plan for 2017.

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Dr Khampheng Xaysompheng admitted that the workforce lacked adequate skills and that Laos suffered from a shortage of skilled technicians.

He told parliament his ministry would work hard to address the issue and pledged to draw up the necessary regulations to facilitate labour skill development by regulating vocational training centres and setting up new centres among other initiatives.

By 2020 when the population is expected to reach 7.3 million people, it is estimated that the workforce will comprise as many as 4.7 million people representing 64.5 percent of the total population.

Of the total, it is envisaged that 64 percent will be needed by the agriculture sector, 24 percent in the service sector, and 12 percent will be needed for industry, construction and mining.