Bangladesh’s industrial sector has not generated enough new jobs in proportion to its growth in gross domestic product (GDP) over the past five years, according to research findings.
Employment in the sector declined by 3.4% last year, accounting for 17% of total employment compared to 20.4% in 2017.
However, its contribution to the country’s GDP increased from 32.5% to 36.9% during the same period.
Even in the higher-earning apparel sector, employment stagnated due to adopting of automation and labor-saving technologies.
This issue was discussed at a recent meeting in Dhaka attended by government and International Labour Organization (ILO) representatives and other topics related to labor market trends.
Another imbalance was observed between growth and employment in the agricultural sector.
While its contribution to GDP decreased from 14.1% in 2017 to 11.6% in the past year, employment share increased from 40.6% to 45.3% during the same period.
Urban employment also experienced a decline, with a higher rate of depression among women. Women’s employment decreased from 31% in 2017 to 23.58% in the present year.
Dr. MA Razzaque, Chairman of Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID), presented these statistics at a technical dialogue organized by the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) and the ILO.
The dialogue aimed to address the challenges arising from labor market trends and explore effective measures outlined in the National Employment Policy (NEP) implemented last year.
The NEP targets creating an additional 30 million jobs by 2030.
The RAPID chairman highlighted the significance of international labor markets as a major source of employment opportunities for Bangladesh and the need to improve remittances received from overseas workers.
Various stakeholders, including the State Minister for Labour and officials from the ILO, expressed their commitment to evidence-based policy development, targeted interventions, and creating an enabling environment for decent employment opportunities aligned with the NEP.
The establishment of an Employment Directorate to coordinate the employment agenda is being explored by the MoLE as part of the NEP’s implementation.
Government officials emphasized skills training, promoting entrepreneurship, and creating job opportunities to address employment challenges and enhance competitiveness in the post-graduation period.
The importance of labor-market intelligence and data in formulating and implementing employment policies and the need for a comprehensive labor market information system (LMIS) to support evidence-based decision-making was stressed.
Representatives from the ILO, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Dhaka University, and the MoLE also spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of employment initiatives and providing insights and solutions for the future.