The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has described as alarming the rate at which unskilled persons are being pushed out of the labour market especially in the manufacturing sub-sector.
According to the Service, a total of 3,240 unskilled jobs were lost between 2014 and 2015, with the Upper West (962) and Northern (907) regions recording the highest number of job losses.
The GSS has therefore entreated government to implement strategies to stimulate growth and support job creation which it noted are the two critical challenges confronting policy makers in the country.
“Is it the case that these unskilled labourers are resigning or are being fired by their employers?” the GSS wondered.
These were contained in a report titled 'Job Creation Report' conducted by the GSS in2014.
The report revealed that out of an overall total of 207,492 jobs created between 2014 and 2015, skilled labour accounted for 179,561 jobs while 27,931 jobs were found in the unskilled labour market.
The GSS observed that "all the sub-sectors in the industrial sector, with the exception of the construction sub-sector, experienced reductions in the number of unskilled jobs available during the period.”
The report concluded that the unskilled job losses in the manufacturing sub-sector followed the dismal performance of the sector in recent years, culminating in the declining contribution of the sub-sector to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
"One major source of this development is the energy crisis which may have compelled managers of manufacturing enterprises to trade-off unskilled personnel for their skilled counterparts since their production costs are likely to go up with this category of personnel," the report observed.
It said the job losses, mostly unskilled ones were recorded among the privately owned establishments in the industrial sector made up of micro, small and medium sub-sectors.
“The unskilled job losses recorded by the manufacturing sub-sector should urgently engage the attention of policy makers since its contribution to GDP has been decreasing overtime.”
The GSS expressed the hope that findings from its survey will provide the much needed data for labour market analysis “which should aid the policy-making process and ensure the support of productive employment which will in turn reduce poverty.”
Commenting on the findings and assertions made by the GSS, some Labour consultants debunked the possibility of unskilled labourers leaving their jobs on their own volition, saying “those labourers were pushed out.”
According to them, the effects of the energy crisis were devastating as most of the manufacturing sector job losses involved the unskilled labourers or casual workers who are normally employed on short-term basis to man factory operations.
They explained that most of the jobs created over the years have not been decent jobs. The jobs have been project based and dependent on the various government projects especially in the construction sector.
Models under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and the free school uniforms project only created temporary jobs which per the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are not sustainable.
“Under circumstances such as these, when the economy is not doing too well and most of such projects wind up, and new projects are not readily available then we have the unskilled workers losing their jobs.”
They reminded government to speedily consider resolving the protracted problem of unstable power supply “which has been the bane of many businesses in recent years as it could be the reason behind the loss of unskilled labour in these sub-sectors.”