Category Archives: Issues in the Labour Market

Quay Asia’s “Issues in the Labour Market” is a Monthly series of posts which will explore themes and issues surrounding the labour market in Bangladesh, and offer insight from a unique perspective. over the next 12 months, this post series will examine youth transitions from school to work, the informal sector labour market, workplace relations, and internal migration. In each series, quay asia will contextualize current trends, unravel the issues, and provide insightful analysis to provide a better understanding for what should come next.

The Informal Sector: What Businesses Can Do

Transitions to Formal Employment

Mariam, now 22 years old, dresses up to leave for work with a smile on her face. She is now a formal employee in the factory where she was previously working as a casual worker. She is a machine operator at the factory. Mariam owes a lot to Fatema and her employer for the training they provided. The training developed her and the skills of other entry level female workers. It also built their confidence so that they can be promoted to positions as operators and supervisors. It worked for Mariam.

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The Informal Sector: Considering Productivity

Accounting for Low Productivity in the Informal Sector

At six o’clock in the morning Mariam, now 18 years old, wakes up and gets ready for the day. She works at a garments factory just outside Dhaka city. As she brushes her hair, she remembers her work as a maid. She was just a child. She cooked, cleaned and took care of the kids when their parents weren’t around. Maryam has bad memories of those times. She always felt the family were unhappy with her work. But she didn’t know why. Sometimes they were happy and would give her gifts of clothes and sometimes money.  When she they were unhappy…well, those really were painful memories.

That’s all behind her now. But work in the factory isn’t easy, either.

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Transitions: Next Steps

Youth face many challenges trying to find work, and attaining a certain level of education or certain skills will only get them so far. Not only do skills training programs need to do a better job teaching youth the best and most up-to-date technical skills, they need to teach youth better soft skills. That was made clear by the last post. However, that only tells half the story. Employers also need to be better recipients and need to adopt better practices to get the most of their new, inexperienced youth employees.

To better understand some of these issues, we asked employers and human resource experts what they thought.

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Transitions: To Work

It is clear that continued education and skills training offer better futures for youth as they enter into the workforce.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and the International Labour Organisation define youth as those aged 15-24.   As seen in the last post, youth face challenges even when they boast strong skills or high educational attainment.

Moving towards the other end of the spectrum, it is also important to consider what the experience is like for employers as these youths enter the workplace. As Bangladesh looks to take advantage of the demographic dividend, are the incoming youth workers trained well enough to take on such a task, or are their skills lacking?

Subsequently, how do employers have to accommodate under-experienced and sometimes ill equipped youth, or do they think youth are equipped with the right skills?

In this post, we explore skills training and what can be done to improve the experience of employers as they welcome an influx of new workers over the coming years.

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Transitions: From School

Transitions: Bangladesh

The Demographic Dividend

Development and population are complex concepts that require more sophisticated models to study them. They affect each other in different ways and the relationship between the two often changes over time. As Bangladesh transitions from a lower income country to a middle income country, it is important to understand some of the social variables that are at work. A demographic transition model (from Hayes and Jones, 2015) helps breakdown the complex interactions between these two variables.

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