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Asked by AL MaMun (4 Golds) Friday, 13 Aug 2021, 01:16 AM at (Consultancy Higher Education)

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 Future of youth employment in Bangladesh

Kazi Asszad H


Youth is bedrock of any fledging nation. A vibrant pool of young people ensure a vigorous nation brimming with youthful exuberance and energy. If this unremitting energy can be efficiently harnessed, youth can considerably contribute to the economic development of the country. However, if a country fails to channel its youth's aspirations to the interest of the youth and country, it might ensure disastrous repercussions for the social stability as well as will not bode well for the economy of the country.

Today marks the world's youth day. This day comes at a watershed moment for our country as well the world. The world is reeling from the seemingly unending devastating blow of Covid-19 which has battered the economy. Besides, the ripple effect of world economic recession and prolonged lockdown combined to jolt our economy with disastrous fallout. One of the victims of this pandemic is admittedly the youths of the country as they found themselves unemployed or their education disrupted.


Unemployment is the perennial scourge of our country and youths of the country bears the brunt of Bangladesh's unemployment malaise. According to Labour Force Survey (LFS) of 2016-17,national unemployment rate stands at 4.2 percentage while youth unemployment is at 10.6. What's perhaps most striking is the fact that, the share of educated unemployed youth to the percentage of total unemployment is even higher.

In fact, unemployment is positively associated with the levels of education of a person. This trend is ominous for the country as it is emblematic of the failure of the education system of the country. The traditional obsolete approach of education is a drag to prepare the country's youth with the right skills so as to extirpate the deplorable bane of unemployment.

Notwithstanding, this unemployment and the unutilized energy of the youth population of Bangladesh is bedevilling when the country is uniquely positioned to harness the benefits of demographic dividend. Demographic dividend refers to a demographic situation when a prolonged decline in mortality and fertility ratio combines to diminish the proportion of dependent people and bulk of the people remains within the threshold of working age(15-64).Therefore, demographic dividend ensures an abundance of the working age people.


However, there are perils when this demographic dividend cannot be properly utilized. The benefits of demographic dividend isn't guaranteed or hinges on the proper policy formulation and effective coordination by the government institutions to imbue the working age population with the right skill so as to harness their potentialities to the economic development of the country.

Far from reaping the benefits emanating from demographic dividend, Bangladesh is woefully buckling under the strain of pervading unemployment which is eating into the vitals of youth. What's concerning is the fact that the benefits of demographic dividend will cease to exist after 2040 when the dependency ratio of the country will spiral.

Besides, Investment in the private sector has been hovering at around 22 to 23 percent of GDP for some time. The lack of adequate generation of jobs can be attributed to this dismal private investment scenario. Besides, Bangladesh's ranking of 168 among 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business Index(EBI) does little to recoup the country's credibility so as to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Therefore, it is high time the government took effective policy measures to address the malady of unemployment. What's perhaps more appalling is the fact that educated youths are not getting jobs. While it might seem bizarre, there are some explanations of this trend. The educated youths aspire to get respectable and well-salaried jobs. However, due to lack of government efforts and dismal private investment scenarios, they aren't able to get jobs as the industry fails to generate jobs commensurate with the youth's demand.


Therefore, there remains a perennial mismatch between supply and demand. While there are abundant youths in the country, the pace of employment generation remains awfully tardy to accommodate this burgeoning working age population. However, there seems to be some striking anomaly. While a significant portions of the country's youth remains unemployed, the industries of the country are filling their ranks with workers from the neighbouring country. Therefore, there is a persistent blame-game between the industries and the workers with regards to this issue. However, employing foreign nationals 'causes a large sum of the country's capital flight.

All these issue indicates the root of the unemployment conundrum lies in the inability of our education system to enable the youths to navigate the realm of industries. This rise is reflected in the spike in percentage of unemployed individuals after every fiscal year.

Due to the prolonged lockdowns induced by Covid-19, majority of the youths have lost their jobs while those who retained their jobs has been subject to wage decline due to the pandemic.

Coupled with the repercussions of the Covid-19, the impending LDC graduation will further deteriorate the situation of youth unemployment. While Bangladesh previously enjoyed several benefits such as duty-free access to European and US markets of our RMG goods, this benefit will cease to exist after graduation from RMG. Besides, exemption from the WTO regulated Intellectual Property (IP) laws will also be countermanded which might deal a mortal blow to our burgeoning pharmaceuticals industry.

Although Bangladesh relies heavily on RMG sector which accounts for a staggering 80% of the country's export, the bonanza from RMG sector also won't persist as new markets in Vietnam and Africa will be better alternatives to Bangladesh. The inability to compete with this countries can be attributed to Bangladesh's inability to diversify the RMG sector and only relying on benefits of cheap labour as its USP(Unique Selling Proposition).

Besides, the advent of 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) era marked by increasing automation will render this bleak employment prospects even worse. The machine-dominated 4IR revolution which hinges on artificial intelligence might ensue significant layoffs as repetitive task will be replaced with machines driven by artificial intelligence rather than man. This will also render our present skills obsolete posing severe threat to the employability of our youths.

Moreover, the future of Bangladesh's economy considering post-Covid economic recession will be further shaken by the loss of LDC status. Against this backdrop, the present woeful employment scenario doesn't augur well for the future of the country's economy. Government and concerned authorities should formulate timely policies to harness the potentials of our youth and in the process reaping the benefits emanating from demographic dividend. This will require a complete overhaul of existing education and a shift towards skill-oriented technical education to imbue our abundant youth population with the efficient skills to fend off the challenges stemming from the uncertainty of 4th Industrial Revolution era.

Department of International

Relations, University of Dhaka

Answered by AL MaMun (4 Golds) Friday, 13 Aug 2021, 01:17 AM

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