Unemployment is one of the most serious problems facing all developed and developing countries. The situation has worsened since the coronavirus pandemic struck. According to various surveys, at present there are over 300 million people around the world who are jobless.
Apart from the economic aspect, joblessness intensifies social and political unrest, leads to crime and youth radicalisation and contributes to brain drain. All over the world, governments try to create more job opportunities but they don’t always succeed, leading to social unrest and violent protests. Given the rapid pace of population growth, unemployment has been rising in equal measure. In a country like Pakistan, with a large youth population, unemployment means wastage of precious human resources.
In view of this, experts suggest ways and means to adopt sustainable job creation strategies.
They put emphasis on self-sustaining activities that could generate their own income, improve the standard of living, provide employment opportunities and also generate tax revenue for the government. As a general rule, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) account for 95% of businesses and generate 65% or more employment openings. Job creation strategies aim to stimulate economic growth and ensure that there is money circulation within the economy to generate income earning activities.
Some people erroneously think that it is the duty of the government only to provide jobs to people. This is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the economy. Alongside the government, the industrialists, investors, businesses and capitalists also help the economy to move to meet the needs of the people.
Experts agree that the biggest vehicle for creating large numbers of jobs is the small and medium industries sector. The setting up of small industries requires less capital and most of them are labour-intensive, that is, they employ more people. Human capital is needed for a rapidly evolving global economy. Governments should initiate public policy measures to create an enabling environment. Appropriate ecosystems for private investment, for small businesses and enterprises are a fundamental requirement to move forward.
Skill development and vocational training is another area which needs our attention. Self-employment should be promoted and for this purpose the government should launch a countrywide skill development programme. The provision of training using MOOCS and other online methods is very cheap and affordable. Providing people with free useful resources will develop public interest and create a knowledge economy. Tips for farmers, agriculture, dairy farms, technologists, businesses and unemployed will not only pass on knowledge but may also create new economic opportunities. Instead of searching for jobs, people may invest their time in newly developed skills and become self-employed. They may run their own businesses and also create opportunities for others at the same time. Various types of certifications or courses should be mandatory in virtually every profession, including security, gas engineering, plumbing and electrical works. This generates jobs in all sectors by providing well-trained manpower.
Agro-industry is another great idea that has not yet been fully explored. Pakistan is an agricultural country and various agrarian products can be used as raw material to set up different industries. In many developed countries, the hospitality sector is considered a big job creator. Anyone dealing with food must obtain a certificate of food hygiene and safety by attending a training course and having their enterprise assessed. The law requires them to understand their food safety responsibilities. This enables them to minimise contamination when handling food products and help their establishment uphold a suitable safety system. There is a strong inspection and monitoring system which regulates quality standards. The monitoring system not only generates jobs for thousands of trainers and food safety experts but also improves the quality of food consumed by the general public.
Similar processes can be introduced to inspect water, meat, milk and other routine products, not by the typical government employees but third party SMEs that would be less prone to corruption and may work more efficiently. Setting up standards, policies and introducing compliance mechanisms will improve the quality of life in every sector. It generates jobs by employing staff for the implementation of these policies and for the ones in charge of the processes. In the UK, every single vehicle, out of 40 million, must go through a paid road worthiness test every year. This ensures that all vehicles are in good condition and also meet the environmental standards. The process generates a revenue of 1.6 billion pounds every year, improves road safety, provides business to 23,500 garages, employment to 65,000 testers around the country and generates valuable tax income for the government.
Launching infrastructure projects is another cost-effective way to increase jobs by building roads, bridges, and investing in public works. According to an estimate, every $1 billion spent on public works created about 20,000 jobs. Public works are labour-intensive and they can be geographically dispersed to serve all parts of the country. It is the responsibility of the PTI government to take necessary action in various fields to create jobs for the maximum number of people.