Employers blame few jobs on weak economy
The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) has blamed the limited number of jobs created in the country on weak economy over the past seven years.
Ecam President, Emmanuel Banda, told Times Business on Wednesday that the weak economic activities have resulted in businesses downsizing while others have folded.
Banda said that most firms that are operating are in survival mode; therefore, they cannot afford to employ extra personnel.
“The past couple of years have been tough for the employer as the economy has remained weak. But we remain confident that once economic activities pick up, jobs will start coming again,” said Banda.
According to the 2013 Malawi Labour Force Survey (MLFS) seven million people within the age group 15-64 were in the labour force. Of this total, 3.3 million were males and 3.7 million were females.
The survey revealed that out of the total labour force 87 percent was resident in the rural areas, 64 percent had no education and nearly half (48 percent) was under 30 years.
The survey pegs Malawi’s unemployment levels at 20 percent. “A total of 5.5 million people were employed, representing an employment rate of 80 percent. Males have a higher employment rate than females at 86 percent and 74 percent respectively. There are little differences in employment rates among employed persons with secondary education or less.
According to the survey, only four percent of employed persons were in managerial, professional technicians and associated professional occupations. A majority of employed persons were absorbed in agriculture, forestry and fishing (64 percent) and wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles (16 percent).
Banda said that though times have remained hard for the employer, they could still play a vital role by opening up to offer internships to the youth who could get the much needed experience and start their own businesses.
“For the youths to start their own business and reduce unemployment, they need mentorship. Giving them a chance to work with the experienced guys through internships could help them understand the operating environment,” said Banda.
Malawi’s economy has been in the doldrums since 2008 when it was rated the second fastest growing in the world after Qatar.
Over the years, authorities have attempted to craft strategies to jump start with economy, including the Economic Recovery Plan of 2012, but with no success.
This has resulted in the economy growing at an average of less than three percent per annum as compared to the 6 percent growth Malawi requires to maintain the current poverty levels.