The country's economy has been more capital intensive over the last decade with a significant drop in the contribution of employment to GDP growth, said economists and experts on Monday.
Young people are now trying to find jobs abroad shying away from the domestic labour market, they added.
They were addressing a seminar titled "Bangladesh employment and labour market watch, 2019: Sectoral challenges and opportunities" in the capital.
The Centre for Development and Employment Research (CDER) and the Policy Research Institute (PRI) jointly organised the event.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said in spite of some issues, the country's economy has been doing well in a broader perspective.
Inequality is one of the biggest problems in the country and the government is trying to address it.
Dr Rizwanul Islam, senior visiting fellow of the CDER, said the contribution of labour employment to economic growth reduced to 27.7 percent in the 2010-2017 period from 49.75 percent in 2005-2010.
He also said some large labour intensive sectors such as textiles, footwear, electronics and furniture failed to generate jobs at a satisfactory level except the RMG sector.
The food processing sector reduced 2.84 percent of employment in the fiscal year 2016-17 and the textile sector cut 1.19 percent of jobs during the same time.
Despite many difficulties abroad, the country's youths prefer overseas jobs, said Dr Rushidan Islam Rahman, executive chairperson of the CDER.
She said only 55 percent of working age people joined the domestic job market during the 2016-2018 period. The rate was 72 percent in the 2006-2010 period.
The employment target in the last two five-year plans could not be met, she added.
The number of overseas employees is increasing but the skill composition is degrading.
The share of unskilled and semiskilled labour has fluctuated between 54 percent and 73 percent over the last decade.
"Our people are going abroad in big numbers but remitting lower amounts. On the other hand, a lower number of high skilled foreigners in Bangladesh are sending big amounts to their countries," she said.
M Syeduzzaman, former finance minister, said there should be acceptable pay gaps in several grades of jobs.
He recommended reducing the existing limit allowed for foreign workers to remit to their countries.