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Covid 19 crisis impacts on employment situations for youth in Lao PDR

A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recommends that young people look for jobs beyond factories and the service sector, saying they should adapt to other types of work as well.

Speaking at an event to launch the report, titled “Youth Unemployment Issues in the Lao PDR” a senior official from UNDP said opaque hiring processes and limited access to higher status sectors continue to leave the state of youth unemployment reeling during the current circumstances resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event saw active participations of various stakeholders including young people, the government and private sector, civil society organisations, international organisations, development partners, and educational institutions. The Lao Labour Force Survey 2017 recorded the number of people under the age of 25 at about 60 percent while the percentage of youth who were potentially employable but out of work was about 37 percent. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to massive instability in what were relatively stable employment situations for young people in service industries.

The UNDP conducted a study from November 2020 to January 2021 to learn about the factors that influence youth unemployment, provide recommendations and envision potential paths forward. UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Ricarda Rieger said “At UNDP, we have a strong belief that young people are key agents of change and can contribute more to the sustainable development of this country. Understanding key barriers that hinder them from developing their skills and entering employment enable us to take another step in addressing such barriers”.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare reported recently that the unemployment rate surged from an average of 2 percent to 25 percent when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020. The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job. Many businesses ceased operation during the recent lockdown and authorities are hoping for a quick rebound in employment as restrictions are lifted. Although measures have been introduced to assist workers, authorities have not received a strong response from some employers, including those in specific economic zones who don’t have clear plans for recruiting Lao workers.

Source: Vientiane Times