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The jobs equation doesn’t add up

The jobs equation doesn’t add up

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A student in Phnom Penh scans job advertisements in a Khmer-language newspaper. Photograph: Sovan Philong/Phnom Penh Post

Dear Editor,

The number of students in Cambodia is increasing dramatically, but the number of jobs is rising only slightly, and this imbalance is creating challenges for those seeking employment in this country.

The Royal Government of Cambodia is clearly aware of the poor employment prospects of young graduates in this country, but it seems this issue has not yet become part of its national discussion.

The government may consider a higher number of unemployed graduates is better than having only students who finished high school.

It wants to promote the education sector by providing high-end school students with great opportunities to continue their education in various universities, both state and private.

Higher-education fees in this country are appropriate and within the reach of many students.

At the same time, I concede that the government also offers many favourable opportunities for foreign investment in order to stimulate the job market for local people.

It should, however, take a broader view of the situation and consider improving the quality of education nationally and updating the curriculum, as well as facing up to the political challenge of creating
a healthier job market.

I understand  the difficulties involved in seeking employment and the challenges young people must overcome to improve their skills, knowledge and experience by learning many things at the same time – not just one speciality, but things such as learning foreign languages, computing, administration, management, accounting and so on.

Trying to find a job is a challenge in the current market, where there’s so much competition from so many others. Before I got my present job, more than 100 candidates were screened for the position; fortunately, I was selected.

I know from experience, having gone from one job to another for 10 years, that these difficulties are not unique to this period in time.

I had to work for a decade in a number of places – starting off by earning $60 a month as a waiter in a restaurant – but this step-by-step process means I am well placed to earn more and more as time passes.

Last but not least, the number of skills you possess is directly related to the employment opportunities you will have.

There are so many decent jobs waiting for qualified graduates in the Kingdom today. Compared with France, Cambodia’s job-market index is still quite healthy.

Rather than immediately demanding a well-paid position, freshly graduated job-seekers should start off as volunteer workers or in lowly paid jobs to gain vital experience.

Yos Katank
Phnom Penh

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