Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Employment growth steady’



‘Employment growth steady’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng speaks at the National Career and Productivity Fair 2018 in Phnom Penh over the weekend. ITH SAM HENG via facebook

‘Employment growth steady’

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng said on Saturday that the employment rate in the Kingdom currently stands at 99.3 per cent of the total workforce of nearly 10 million people – a figure dismissed by some social analysts as unrealistic.

Speaking at the National Career and Productivity Fair 2018 in Phnom Penh over the weekend, Sam Heng said the labour sector continued to grow at a steady rate.

“In 2018, the employment rate is at 99.3 per cent of the total workforce, accounting for nearly 10 million people,” he said.

He said in the formal economic sector, there are 1.5 million employees among the 12,000 enterprises registered with the Labour Ministry.

In the informal economic sector, 600,000 enterprises employed about 2.4 million people, while over four million people are employed in agriculture.

There are currently 1.2 million migrant workers employed abroad, whereas the number of civil servants stands at 500,000.

“Constant economic growth has enabled the government to further develop and extend the social security system known as the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for employees. The aim is to ensure better job security and income for them and their families.

“The NSSF covers labour risks and healthcare for employees in the formal economic sector and is fully contributed by employers as required by Samdech [Hun Sen] since January this year,” he said, adding that employees in the informal economic sector can use equity funds.

The Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union president Ath Thun took issue with the minister’s claims.

He said many people are unemployed, among them scholars and university students. And even if they were employed, he said their jobs were not of economic significance.

“The 90 per cent employment rate figure provided by the government includes vendors, moto-taxi and tuk-tuk drivers and people who run small businesses. The government should not focus on that too much,” he said.

Thun said the government should take a more realistic approach if it wanted to boost employment in the Kingdom.

He called for the creation of a business-friendly environment that provided youths and local enterprises a chance to foster entrepreneurship and subsequently create more jobs.

He said such an approach could draw skilled workers to local enterprises, which in turn increased productivity and discouraged them from migrating to other countries for jobs.

Tun Sophorn, national coordinator for the International Labour Organisation in Cambodia, supported Thun’s position.

He said the government should put more focus on the economic significance of their employment.

“The quality of their job is a matter of utmost importance . . . Unemployment statistics are low but among the workforce aged 15 to 65, the problem is not unemployment itself. It boils down to the quality of employment,” he said.

He said there are still many poor people in the Kingdom. Although they are employed, they still live below the poverty line. Sophorn urged the government to provide more social and legal protection for those who are employed in the informal economic sector.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants