Gov’t Wants More Labor Market Data To Improve Training

The Council of Ministers on Friday adopted a sub-decree that would allow the government to gather data from both the public and private sectors to identify gaps in the labor market and plan for vocational training.

According to a statement released on Friday, the sub-decree empowers the Employment Agency, part of the Council’s National Committee on Vocational Training, to gather information about how many people are employed in each sector and how many employees are needed.

The data will be gathered from ministries, government institutions, private companies, NGOs and the public to create a database for sharing labor market information.

Cabinet Minister Sok An told the Council during Friday’s meeting that there are “loopholes between the labor market demand and labor supply,” according to a Council of Ministers radio broadcast.

He said the new data would help “minimize the unemployment numbers” and assist new graduates in choosing the right career path, according to the broadcast.

“The first wing of the Employment Agency must gather yearly data…. The second [task] is we have to understand what kind of training the labor market needs…so we must know whether market demand and market supply feed each other or not,” he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that the data would be updated every three months.

“This sub-decree was created to reduce the unemployment,” he said.

“What is basically required, and what Cambodia is slowly developing, is an effective labor market information system,” said Tuomo Poutiainen, chief technical adviser with the International Labor Organization’s Better Factories program.

Such a system exists in most labor markets around the world, and is an important tool for both employers and workers, he said.

However, Mr Poutiainen expressed concerns over the ability of current vocational training systems to effectively train workers to take advantage of the new market data.

“The Cambodian infrastructure for vocational and skills training is outdated…[and] under-resourced,” he said.

At a recent public-private sector forum, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on all those involved with the labor market to improve the quality of information available, Mr Poutiainen added.

Also on Friday, the Council passed a sub-decree establishing a public fund for the disabled, according to the official statement. The fund will disburse money to projects supporting those with disabilities.

(Additional reporting by Ian Williamson)


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