Over 3,300 vacancies for skilled workers in export sector | Sunday Observer

Over 3,300 vacancies for skilled workers in export sector

The shortage of skilled labour in specific categories in respect of some export sectors, is a crucial issue faced by exporters. These include machine operators and other specific skills, particularly in the apparel sector.

The NCE has conducted a survey among member companies to identify the specific skills in short supply. According to the results of the survey, there exists around 3,400 vacant positions for specific skills which are in short supply.

The Chamber has made representations to the authorities regarding this issue which hinders their productive operations and the necessity to import specific skills from overseas on contract basis to address the issue, if necessary.

The Chamber has received representations regarding another issue which compounds the above problem. This has arisen due to the proposal of the government to provide employment opportunities to 10,000 graduates by filling vacancies in State entities to fulfill an election promise.

The Chamber has been informed that the process of issuing letters to candidates who have applied for available vacancies has commenced. The real issue faced by enterprises in the field of exports, is that successful candidates (under the 10,000 jobs for graduates program) who are employed in export enterprises, need to accept the positions that are offered at very short notice, and in some instances requiring commencement of work on the day following acceptance of the offer.

It is apparent that some of those who graduate out of State universities desire to be employed in the State sector for reasons of job security, and for other fringed benefits such as a government pension. However, the immediate loss of employees by the private sector without prior notice creates immense difficulties for export enterprises including the fulfillment of seasonal orders, thereby disrupting productive operations. This is in the background of some exporters having incurred expenditure for local training, as well as overseas training in some instances.

Since the procedure of recruitment outlined is unprofessional and detrimental to the private sector enterprises in the field of exports, and for the economy of the country, the Chamber has pointed out the necessity to adhere to the requirement of the standard 30 days’ notice to be given to the respective employers, particularly in respect of critical job functions.

While it is accepted, that the mobility of skilled personnel to more productive and remunerative sectors is not an unusual phenomenon, the chamber points out the requirement for a clear national policy for the importation of specific skills in short supply, under strict regulations, as well as specific terms and conditions of contract, to fulfill the critical needs of export enterprises.

This is considered a necessity, in the background of concerns as well as opposition from certain groups, to the movement of skilled personnel, under the Free Trade Agreements that are being negotiated.