Bangladesh needs 8m more skilled workforce by 2025

Hasibul Aman

6 September, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Shortage of skilled manpower is now a major concern for Bangladesh, but it will require 80 lakh(8 million) more skilled workforce in nine industrial sectors by 2025, suggests a new estimate. 

In a new study, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) finds that the country will need 8.87 crore total workers in different industries.Of the estimate, nearly 1.67 crore workers will be needed in nine key industries, including 80 lakh skilled workers, 56 lakh semi-skilled and 31 lakh unskilled workers.

For ensuring the supply of the required workers, the country has to provide skill training to 56 lakh people in the next five years, the study suggests.

If educated people are trained up to skilled workforce, unemployment problem will be subdued while the country will see economic development.

Otherwise, Bangladesh will be on the horse of a dilemma, the BIDS study report warned.

Currently, the export-oriented readymade garment industry that contributes 84 per cent to the country’s total export earnings is running with 20 shortage of skilled manpower. 

In view of this, a few thousand foreign workers are working in the local apparel sector, causing some Tk 5,000 crore capital flight from Bangladesh.

On the other hand, nearly one crore Bangladeshis are working abroad. But Bangladesh can not earn the expected amount of foreign remittance because a major portion of the workers is low skilled.

Workers deficiency problem in industries is getting worse day by day as many industries now have vacancies whereas there is no dearth in educated youth in the country.  Both economists and industry

owners have blamed lack of skilled people for the situation. Economists stress on providing skill training to people in the coming year to resolve the problem. 

“Lack of skilled workers has now risen as a big problem for the country, which is likely to get worse in future. Only in apparel sector, workers’ deficiency will stand at 15 lakh in next 10 years,” commented BIDS Director General KAS Murshid.

“If the problem continues, achieving the expected growth won’t be possible,” he said, stressing on creating skilled manpower.

The BIDS study said local youths are increasingly taking more interest in obtaining higher education. However, they are not getting skilled despite receiving higher education.

Besides, the higher education they are getting does not match with the industrial demands, it added.

These educated people have apathy in taking technical training or diploma in specific areas, which eventually make them ineligible for the industrial sector.

But unemployment is very low among those who receive technical training after passing SSC and HSC, according to the study.

Nine largest employment generating sectors are RMG and textile, construction, agro-processing, healthcare, ICT, tourism and hospitality, leather, light engineering and shipbuilding.

But 89.6 per cent of people working in these sectors has no skill training, according to the study.

By 2025, RMG sector’s demand for workers will stand at 50.27 lakh while the shortage of skilled workers will be 15 lakh. At present, the sector has 1.19 lakh skilled workers’ shortage, BIDS said. 

Economic analysts emphasize creating opportunities for decent job for educated people, enhancing their productivity and creating skilled workers in line with the industry’s demand.