Employer demand for labour down 54%
There was a general reduction in demand for labour during the last financial year, according to the latest labour report, which bases its assessment on jobs advertised in the major newspapers.
Those ads were down 54.4 per cent, at year end March 2010, according to the Planning, Research and Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Social Services.
In its recently released annual report, the planning unit said demand fell from 15,164 in 2008/09 to 6,912 in the year ending March 2010.
The new data shows advertisements falling well below the annual average of 11,000 job advertisements recorded by the unit.
However, there is some indication that the demand trend is on the upswing.
During the financial year, the smallest number of the 6,910 jobs advertised, some 4.9 per cent, fell in the month of December 2009; but the largest, 17.6 per cent, was recorded in February 2010.
The January to March 2010 quarter had the largest number of advertised vacancies, 44.4 per cent, which was more than triple the job ads placed in October-December 2009, amounting to 16.3 per cent of yearly placements.
Almost two-thirds of the positions were advertised in the last half of the financial year.
In general, however, usage of the labour ministry's electronic labour exchange (ELE) also indicated limited demand for the financial year.
Employers posted a total of 490 vacancies online, while a total of 1,804 jobseekers registered with the ELE's job placement service.
The ELE referred 864 of its clients to prospective employers who interviewed 699 and chose 215 jobseekers for employment.
As indicated by job ads, most of the vacancies during the last financial year, approximately 39 per cent, were in relation to occupations in the 'professionals, senior officials and technicians' group.
This was followed by 'service workers, shop and market sales workers', 23.7 per cent, and 'elementary occupations', 21.7 per cent.
Individually, household workers and managers were in highest demand in the Jamaican labour market, with teachers and chefs also in the top 10 grouping.
Management positions on offer included sales/marketing, general manager, accounting, project/ procurement, restaurant and human resources.
Vacancies publicised via the Internet totalled 350 over FY 2009/10, for positions that were mostly in the 'professionals, senior officials and technicians' grouping.
Total advertised vacancies over an eight-year period, from May 2002-March 2010, amounted to 99,188 — or an average of just over 11,000 per annum — of which 45 per cent were for the recruitment of professionals, senior officials and technicians.