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

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the