Unemployment among women rose in the last two years, even though the overall number of unemployed saw a decline.
As per government data, some 82 percent of males aged between 15 and 64 years are employed, while the rate among the women of this age group is about 29 percent only.
More rural women are involved in an income generating work than their urban fellows.
The information was revealed in the “Employment, Productivity and Sectorwise Investment Review-2018,” prepared and published by General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission in May.
The report said, at present, 21 lakh people are unemployed in the country. The number was 26 lakh in 2016, as per the Manpower Survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
In 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent, compared to 4.3 percent in 2016. The rate, however, was 4.6 percent in 2010.
The GED report says the number of males, out of the total unemployed, is 9 lakh, while the number is 12 lakh among women.
In 2016, the unemployment ratio between males and females was equal, meaning the number of males and females unemployed was 13 lakh each.
Meanwhile, the age-wise break-up of the manpower shows that the unemployment rate among the younger working-age people is more. More than 56 percent of the total unemployed lie between 15 and 24 years.
Among the people aged between 25 and 29 years, the unemployment is 25.4 percent.
The report further says people with technical and vocational education are more unemployed, followed by highly educated and uneducated ones.
Most of the people aged between 30 and 64 years constitute two-thirds of the employed people. The number of this group is 4.11 crore.
On the other hand, the number of unemployed people between 15 and 29 years is 2.08 crore, having a share of 33.6 percent in the total.
As women’s participation in the workforce has decreased, the report however recommended formulation of a strategy for their proper employment.
Zahid Hussain, former lead economist at the World Bank’s Dhaka chapter, said the highest number of women has become jobless in the garments sector, thanks to technological advancement.
The survey also has a chapter titled “No education, no employment, no training” where also nine out of 10 people are women.
Planning Commission (GED) member Dr Shamsul Alam said the unemployment rate was not properly reflected in many cases in the earlier study.
Now diversity in economic activities in Bangladesh has increased. For example, in Dhaka, a security guard is employed in every house. Many people are also engaged in water supply work. They have not been counted in the national data of employed persons, he said.
This time, more than 10,000 samples have been included in a wider scale in the field level, which has reflected the real unemployment scenario.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard has been applied to count the rate of unemployment too.
As per the ILO standard, if a person does not work for even one hour a week he or she is considered unemployed.
Zahid Hussain said there is room for consideration if the BBS survey and the GED survey are comparable on the ground of different systems used.
The survey said, after 2016, the number of unemployed fell but the industrial sector saw growth after that year, while the readymade garments also saw growth last year, he added.
He further said the survey showed employment occurred most in the service sector. In recent times, many workers went abroad from Bangladesh. In 2017, about 10 lakh left the country. If they stayed in the country, unemployment would have risen for sure.
As per the report, employment in the non-institutional sector is still high -- 85.6 percent. The number of decent employment has increased rather than self-employment. In both cases, the employment has increased compared to that in 2010.
The survey emphasized increasing decent employment. For this, security in the workplace, social security for family, increasing employee’s efficiency and creating equal status and attitude towards both males and females is essential. It also stressed raising quality of education and training.
Zahid Hussain said automation and improved technology would mean job loss for some people. So, opportunity should be created for them in other sectors, which would require high efficiency.
It therefore needs to put high priority on raising efficiency according to demand. For increasing employment in the formal sector, proper implementation of appointment related laws and rules is also necessary, he added.
Dr Shamsul Alam said those, who are not educated, get involved in any type of work. But the educated youths pose themselves as unemployed until they get a job of their liking.
As a result, a big portion of the unemployed is not fully workless, he added.
Every year, 20 lakh people enter the labour market. In the ensuing 8th five-year plan, a good number of strategies will be adopted to create opportunity for jobs for the educated unemployed people, which is also a challenge for the government, said Dr Alam.