Alarming youth unemployment prompts multifaceted reforms

Government of the day lays down the strategies and ambitions in the State of The Nation Report

Youth unemployment is one of the prime issues Bhutan is facing at this hour and time. It is a delicate problem which needs to be addressed carefully with nurturing strategies and policies. Recognizing the urgency of the issue, the government has been, therefore, prompted to undertake a series of multiple strategies, initiatives and reforms.

Among other reforms, the last fiscal year saw 2,545 youths engaged in livelihood programs while 2,063 youths were placed through the Overseas Employment Program (OEP). Close to 9,000 job seekers were facilitated with direct job placements with an additional 2,000 youths undertaking entrepreneurship training programs.

As reiterated in the State of The Nation (SoTN) report, the establishment of a business incubation centre has nurtured 12 incubates, while 12 events were conducted to accelerate startups and provide a platform for business ideas to grow and encouragingly, 37 new startups were established in the fiscal year 2022-23, creating a total of 145 job opportunities.

Additionally, a national strategy was formulated to enhance Bhutan’s career guidance landscape, enabling youth to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the diverse employment prospects. One of the key initiatives under this strategy is the GOWA platform, which disseminates labor market information and enables private entities to find the right candidates for their enterprises and also facilitates on-the-spot recruitment, making it easier for job seekers to connect with potential employers. “GOWA has successfully informed 2,503 participants and employed 330 participants,” according to the state of nation report, 2023.

With the development of the National Strategy on Overseas Employment (NSOE), Bhutanese citizens living abroad are ensured a secure and gainful employment while the National Strategy on Career Guidance aims to equip the youths with a full understanding of diverse career prospects and opportunities.

Likewise, the revision of the career and occupation dictionary 2012 is initiated to provide a guiding document for career choices while development of the national reintegration program is initiated to establish an effective psychosocial and economic reintegration as a strategic action of the NSOE. The Employment Responsibility System (ERS) has also been revised to strengthen coordinated efforts towards employment generation.

“The government plans to enhance its employment facilitation mandate through the implementation of the Employment Service Centre Strategy, aiming to strengthen service delivery across all regional offices,” the SoTN reported. Emphasis has also been laid on digital job creation, with the ambitious goal of generating 1,000 digital jobs annually.

“These initiatives are expected to play a crucial role in realizing Bhutan’s vision for a thriving and inclusive labor market as it marches towards its ambitious target of achieving a full employment rate of 97.5 percent by 2029,” the report further stated.

Meanwhile, recent labour force survey reveals that as of 2022, the nation had 5.9 percent of unemployment rate, with an alarming 28.6 percent categorized as youth unemployment rate. 

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu