Several lakhs of graduates every year are joining the employment race against around 3,000 posts of the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS). Their efforts to manage a public job takes many years. Besides, educated youths are unwilling to go for odd jobs, or work which do not match with the typical employment.
The obsession for public jobs and ego issues are contributing to the growing unemployment rate among graduates.
On the other hand, fewer educated people are joining odd jobs. After becoming successful in their ventures, many of them turn out to be employers. Therefore, jobs for the less educated have edged up in the last couple of years.
The outlook of our economy has been brighter for the past decade, mostly riding on agriculture and manufacturing sectors with blue-collar jobs. Though a few heavy industries were established during the time, they highly depend on blue-collar jobs, not the white ones.
The mega-project spree generated jobs for the less educated working class, while the country outsourced technicians and engineers from foreign countries.
Though the growth in blue-collar jobs has been consistent over the last couple of years, it got affected during the pandemic. Small and medium industries, especially the formal sectors, terminated a large number of their workers to survive the pandemic fallout.
Recently there are recruitment advertisements for those vacant posts. Apart from the old workers, new jobseekers are applying for those positions. As employers prefer skilled and experienced applicants, newcomers to the job market fall into difficulty.
But educated youths are in the worst situation as white-collar jobs had already been declining over the last 10 years – even before the pandemic. The last three years show a steady decline, while jobs for educated people clocked negative growth in several years during the last decade.
Numerous sectors, including telecom, once hired many employees. As the entities have matured, they have reduced recruitment. Rather, they adopt office downsizing policies for cost minimisation.
The number of fresh graduates has doubled in 10 years owing to more private universities, a rise in income and perception about social status. And since jobs did not grow at that rate, unemployment among graduates is increasing.
A survey shows that around 40-50% of the educated youths are unemployed, and the rate is higher than any other country in the world.
There is nothing more disappointing than half of the graduates not getting jobs after completing their academic career.
If half the people in a country do not get jobs after completing study, there can be no greater tragedy.
One of the reasons may be the country's immature institutions which led to fewer white-collar jobs. The informal sector employs more than 85% of the labour market.
But even more problematic is the ego of the educated people. All they want is a white-collar job after graduation while such jobs are fewer.
The mind-set of students went through a massive change in the last couple of years. None of them wants a private job anymore. The 2015 government pay scale doubling the salaries and perks is the main reason for that.
Once, bright students used to prefer jobs in multinational institutions and banking sectors. Now all students opt for BCS examinations to secure a public job.
Due to this turnabout, entrepreneurs also struggle finding skilled manpower. Entrepreneurs want educated, skilled and qualified people for their organisations, but youths are not interested in private firms any more – prompting a crisis for a qualified workforce facing the private sector.
Four to five lakh new graduates enter the job market every year while the government takes 2,000-3,000 through the BCS exam. As a result, many new graduates remain unemployed.
On top of this, many graduates leave the private sector to take preparations for the BCS examinations.
Fahim Mashroor, CEO at bdjobs.com, spoke to The Business Standard's Jahidul Islam.