World Bank calls for new policies on employment

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Students attend the National Career and Productivity Fair 2019 at the Koh Pich Exhibition and Convention Centre on November 3. Heng Chivoan

Cambodia's quality and diversity of job opportunities are improving but need new policies to take advantage of the global market in the future, the World Bank said.

Its report, entitled The Future of Jobs: Linking to the Economy of Tomorrow, which was released on Tuesday, showed that of eight million jobs in Cambodia, 37 per cent are based on daily wages, many of which offered higher earnings and increased protection for workers.

 

However, the remaining 63 per cent of jobs were still more traditional. Such jobs in family farms or household enterprises were weakly integrated into the modern economy and offered workers lower earnings.

World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia Inguna Dobraja said the essence of the report lies on the need to establish employment policies to help workers and employers who contribute to the economy.

Dobraja noted that this is the first study showing a comprehensive overview of employment and policies related to economic development, poverty alleviation and job skills in the private sector.

She said: “The diversity and quality of jobs in Cambodia has gradually improved. But global trends, such as the growing Asian middle class, shifting trade patterns, and automation require that Cambodia re-think its jobs strategy as it advances to the next stage of export-led development.”

The report said Cambodia currently had 8.2 million jobs, with 160,000 new workers entering the workforce every year. But the Kingdom needed more skilled workers.

Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training deputy director-general Phuong Viseth, who participated in the report’s launch, said the development of advanced technology is in line with the government’s industrial policy 4.0, which aimed to respond to the skills shortage within the private sector.

 

“The lack of skilled labour is a concern for the government,” he said.

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Long Kemvichet said at the ceremony that in order to enhance its competitiveness, the ministry has developed the Cambodia Trade Integration Strategy 2019-2023, which focuses on commerce development, e-commerce, and Industry 4.0.

“We must know that this is the stage where we have to prepare ourselves to compete with other countries.

“This strategy is also focused on improving the skills of our workers. This is important in relation to Industry 4.0 and for the digital economy to be further stimulated,” he said.

Wendy Cunningham, lead economist and the report’s lead author, said it aimed to identify the priority points in inter-sectors in order to create more jobs and increase the quality of work.

“The success of Cambodia’s job strategy will depend on the participation and cooperation of stakeholders across the economy, not just the policymakers and government leaders but also the entrepreneurs, investors development partners and workers themselves,” she said.