Employment rate stood at 96.5%

By major occupational groups, “Skilled Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Worker” (43.0%) tops employment, while “Armed Force” (0.8%) represents the lowest.

The country is experiencing a robust labor market with a staggering overall employment rate of 96.5% in 2023, according to recent data released by the Bhutan Labor Force Survey. The study reveals that the country’s employment landscape is characterized by variations in gender, age, and sectoral distribution.

The survey indicates that the employment rate among males stands at 97.3%, slightly higher than that among females, which stands at 95.5%. When analyzed across regions, Wangduephodrang emerges as the top-performing district, with an astounding employment proportion of 99.7%, closely followed by Dagana at 99.6%.

Conversely, Thimphu Thromde and Gelegphu Thromde show a concerning lower proportion of employed persons, recording rates of 91.9% and 93.5% respectively.

Contrasting across the age groups, the employment rate among individuals aged 60 years and above is 100%, showcasing their commitment to contributing to the workforce.

However, the survey highlights a concerning employment proportion of 83.8% among the 20-24 age groups. For individuals aged 15-64, the employment rate stands at 96.4%, with males slightly outpacing females at 97.2% and 95.3% respectively.

The report also sheds light on the sectoral distribution of employment. Notably, the agriculture sector claims the largest segment of employed individuals, accounting for 43.5% of the total workforce.

On the other end of the spectrum, the industry sector only holds a meager 13.6%, while the service sector boasts a substantial share of 42.9%. Interestingly, in the agriculture sector, females constitute a higher proportion of the workforce at 52.3%, compared to males at 37.3%.

Conversely, in the service and industry sectors, the proportion of employed males surpasses that of females.

The survey additionally reveals a clear distinction between urban and rural employment patterns. In rural areas, the majority of individuals, making up 65.3% of the workforce, are employed in the agriculture sector.

Meanwhile, approximately 78.5% of individuals in urban areas find employment in the service sector, further emphasizing the urban-rural divide.

Moreover, when examining employment status, the largest group of employed individuals in Bhutan is comprised of “Family workers” (42.7%), followed by “regular paid employees” (30.9%).

Notably, the report states that employers make up less than 1% of the workforce. In urban areas, almost three-fifths (58.7%) of employed individuals are regular paid employees, whereas, in rural areas, people working as own account workers in agriculture dominate, accounting for 37.4% of the workforce.

Analyzing occupational groups, the survey shows that the most significant share of employment is found among “Skilled Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Workers” at 42.9%. This category showcases substantial contributions from both males (36.6%) and females (52.0%).

In urban areas, the dominant occupational groups are “Service and Sales Workers” and “Managers,” accounting for 19.5% of employment collectively. In rural areas, “Skilled Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery Workers” shows the largest proportion of employment, amounting to 64.5%.

Additionally, the survey highlights the impact of educational attainment on employment. Shockingly, 34.1% of employed individuals do not have any formal education, with a higher percentage among females (40.3%) compared to males (29.7%).

The concentration of employed persons with higher educational qualifications is more pronounced in urban areas. Amazingly, only 1.3% of employed females possesses a master’s degree or higher, while the figure is slightly higher for males at 2.9%.

Overall, Bhutan’s employment landscape showcases promising results, with the country witnessing an impressive employment rate. However, challenges persist, particularly in the youth employment arena and the need to bridge gender disparities in certain occupational sectors.

When comparing the employment rate of the country for the past 5 years, the employment rate of this year was increased by percentages from all year except for 2019 which saw a decrease by 0.8% from 2019.

When comparing the employment rate of a country for the past 5 years, the employment rate of this year increased by a percentage from all years except for the year 2019, which decreased by 0.8%.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu