There is a mismatch between the needs of country’s labor market and the skills held by new university graduates, government officials and youth representatives said yesterday.
“There is a state of dilemma. Employers who want to find qualified individuals cannot find people,” said Labor Ministry secretary of state Pich Sophoan on the first of a two day forum on youth employment in Phnom Penh.
“That means that there is a lack of labor force of skilled workers in the market,” he said.
With about 300,000 young people a year entering a job market focused on the agro-industry and manufacturing sectors, students should be seeking vocational training related to those fields.
“There is a mismatch between the supply and demand of the labor market,” he said, adding that a university diploma does not guarantee a job in today’s market.
Neang Sovathana, a 24-year-old who hosts a talk show on Radio Sarika FM on youth related issues, said the problem comes from both the tough job market and from the lack of qualified applicants.
“I have a lot of friends, a lot of classmates, who are finding it difficult to get a job. It’s really an issue,” said Ms. Sovathana, adding that it is a misconception among Cambodian youths that having a university degree, such as in business or accounting, guarantees a job in today’s climate.
“Today, vocational training is very important,” she said.
However, Kim Sunly, 26, an electrical engineering student at the National Technology Training Institute, said that within his field, he and his classmates are still having trouble finding employment.
“I thought I chose the right subject to study,” said Mr. Sunly, who will be graduating at the end of the month.
(Additional reporting by Sok Sidon)