Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Job security low as unemployment drops

Job security low as unemployment drops

Job security low as unemployment drops

The economy is growing rapidly and productivity improving, but when it comes to enjoying decent work, most Cambodian workers are missing out, new statistics reveal.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) released the latest data from its EU-funded project Monitoring and Assessing Progress of Decent Work this week, showing that despite an improving environment, including low rates of official unemployment , 75 per cent of workers are in vulnerable jobs.

This includes the self-employed or ‘own account’ workers such as street stall holders and drivers but also unpaid family members, helping out relatives in business and at home.

David Williams, from the ILO regional office, said making growth ‘inclusive’ was a challenge faced by other fast growing economies but that business employers also had a role to play.

“It’s not just up to the government, it’s up to companies making a healthier workforce,” he said.

The ILO project maps the development of Cambodia’s labour market over the past decade and shows how political stability and rapid growth have seen the number of those living below the poverty line drop from 36.1 to 30.1 per cent and annual growth in labour productivity rise 4.4 per cent.

However, work itself is less solid, with more people working excessive hours than before and women’s wages are falling further behind men’s, even as real wages increase.

Mouen Tola, head of labour programs at the Community Legal Education Center, said one explanation for the mismatch in growth was that the number of unemployed was lower than those living under the poverty line.

He said basic wages, though they might seem high on paper – such as a garment worker’s wage of $US73 a month – could include attendance bonuses that weren’t always paid, reducing the real wage.

“Other industries, like people working in restaurants, only get $40 a month. So how do you survive?” he said.

Once the ILO ‘s updated Decent Work Profile for Cambodia has been digested by government, employers’ and workers’ organisations, the organisation hopes policy debate will follow.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rosa Ellen at [email protected]


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Monks given ‘Samdech’ title for contributions

    Three senior monks on Thursday were given the highest-ranking title “samdech”, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying that the promotions were due to their contributions to Buddhism. The three distinguished monks were promoted on Thursday morning at Botum Vatey pagoda in Phnom Penh, at a

  • Facing possible sanctions, PM criticises Washington’s rights record

    While United States congressmen are discussing the Cambodia Democracy Act and an amendment that could impose more sanctions against Cambodia’s government, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday counterattacked by questioning the respect of human rights and democracy under the US-backed Lon Nol regime, and