Discussing the implications of the decreasing employment-seeking rate and the rise in the numbers of persons who now fall outside of the labour force, JobBank Chief Executive Officer Dr. Leachim Semaj said that the effort must be made to bring them back into the job market visible economic activity.
Says Semaj: "The evidence shows that the Government is not really concerned. They know the people who are on the tax roll. We now have TRN numbers. We also have a voters' roll. We can make the correlation. If individuals are in the communities and there is no visible means of support, they are involved in informal or criminal activity."
He said that the response of the Government might include a "drastic policy" to demand that any young person from 16-20 years old, who is not working, and who is on the tax roll, should be in a training institution.
Semaj, a noted psychologist, states that it was recently suggested at a management consultants' conference, that given the fact that 80 per cent of the Jamaican workforce has no training, general consumption tax should be removed from this service to make it more accessible, especially to many small and medium-size companies, which cannot afford training.
Addressing the issue of why men and women might be avoiding the formal work sector, Semaj said: "Many young people grow up seeing their parents being (supported) by others." He said their values have not included that an adult is to earn his keep in a legitimate manner.
"At the same time," he says, "many of the working poor cannot see the results of their labour because their employment is so marginal. The incentive to work is not as strong because society gives you so many other options: to be a parasite, predator and beneficiary of the political process."
The employment consultant believes that government policy, which addresses parenting and education, can affect the trend of the increasing numbers who wish to avoid formal work.
"What we teach our child ... has to be geared to produce persons who can make a contribution to the productive sector. It is not so now. They leave school without certification and training - they are not employable."
- Avia Collinder