Guyana conducts first labour market survey

Guyana has conducted its first Labour Market Intelligence Survey (LMIS), with the specific aim of identifying the needs of the Labour Market.

The Ministry of Labour and the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through technical assistance and funding provided by the Inter-American Development Bank conducted the survey, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) report.

A seminar was held at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) on Tuesday for a review of the survey and to have the input from stakeholders at the ministries of Labour and Education.

Ivelaw Henry
Ivelaw Henry

According to GINA, the survey found that employers encountered difficulties, such as recruiting staff who lacked the requisite experience, under-qualified persons, and insufficient compensation and to a lesser degree incompatibility of working hours.

The data gathered from the survey is needed for the planning of the relevant skills training programmes by the TVET, Patrick Findley, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, was reported as stating at the seminar. He mentioned that the survey focused on determining whether any gaps existed for skills for five sectors in the economy: engineering and construction, forestry, manufacturing, hotel and hospitality and commercial trade.

Also present at the seminar was Ivelaw Henry, Chief Statistical Officer of the Ministry of Labour, who observed that the Statistical Bureau of the Labour Department has been remiss in conducting surveys because there had been a reliance on the national census, which is only conducted every decade. The data garnered was not the type needed by the Labour Department, he, however, noted.

Prior to the survey, Henry added, Guyana is the only country in the Caribbean which had not conducted labour surveys for the type of needed information.

Under the guidance of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) representative, the survey commenced by using information from the Bureau of Statistics and the National Insurance Scheme, GINA said. It was conducted throughout the 10 Administrative Regions in Guyana. There was a total of 317 establishments who responded to the survey, of which only 286 were locally owned, while the remainder were either fully foreign-owned or jointly owned with Guyanese. The age groups of the work force surveyed were 15 to 29 years, 30 to 50 years and over 50 years.

GINA said the stakeholders at the seminar believed that the survey should be done as a matter of policy as a collaborative effort between the Bureau of Statistics and the Statistical Unit of the Ministry of Labour and based on the information gathered, training must be formulated and conducted in accordance with the needs of the labour market.

According to GINA, Findlay, based on his experiences as the Head of the Men’s Affairs Bureau, stated what is needed is an improvement in the attitude of young women and men and training alone may be insufficient as the youths live with a “microwave mentality” and want everything quick and fast.

More important, Findlay noted, young people are leaving educational institutions in hope of obtaining jobs and discovering that they are not available. However, he believed the data gathered through the labour survey is one step closer in addressing this dilemma.

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