Labour force increase has been increased in Pakistan as far as statistics are concerned. Data from the Labour Force Survey shows that youth labour force aged between 15-29 years in Pakistan was 17.39 million in 2001-2002 which increased to 23.75 million by the years 2012-2013 showing an increase of 6.36 million.
Among these 6.36 million youth, 3.35 million increased in Punjab, 2.03 million in Sindh, 0.71 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 0.27 million in Balochistan.
However, the only sector in which overall youth employment rates are improving is the agriculture sector. An in depth analysis of employed youth by industry division in various regions from the micro data tapes of Labour Force survey of 2001-02 and 2012-13 shows that youth employment rates in the agriculture sector show a percentage point change of 0.68 and 2.2 in both urban and rural areas respectively.
On the other hand, the manufacturing sector and the services sector have registered a decline.
The manufacturing sector registered a change of -0.29 and -0.1 point in the urban and rural areas respectively, whereas the services sector recorded a decrease of -0.4 and -2.09 points. This suggests that both the manufacturing sector, as well as the services sector did not progress during the last decade in terms of providing decent employment opportunities.
In spite of the fact that there has been a tremendous increase in the youth population, regional employment rates across various industries have not increased satisfactory.
While a positive trend has been notices in the youth employment rate of rural areas, the urban areas are still on a decline. Employment rates among the rural youth have increased more than that of urban areas. For the last decade, employment rate among the youth in urban areas has decreased by 1.4 percentage points, whereas in the rural areas it increased by 3.88 percentage points.
Industrial segregation of the employed youth in both urban and rural areas has been studied in order to see which industry is progressing in respective regions of all provinces.
The survey further shows that over the last decade, employed youth in Punjab both in rural and urban areas was concentrated in the services sector, showing a percentage point change of 18.17 and 15.9 respectively. Manufacturing sector in the urban areas does not provide enough employment opportunities to youth as it has decreased by 15.05 percentage points, along with the rural Punjab in which it showed a decrease of 4.9 points. As far as agriculture sector is concerned it does not progress across the province, and more decrease is noticed in rural Punjab where it showed a percentage decrease of 13.27 points versus 0.85 in urban Punjab.
The only sector which is improving in both the urban and rural Sindh is the manufacturing sector, in which the percentage point change of employed youth is 1.9 and 10.18 respectively. Agriculture sector in rural Sindh shows a percentage point change of -14.4 where as in urban Sindh agriculture sector showed improvement (1.19 percentage points.) Services sector in the urban areas did not improve, showing a percentage change of -3.1, where as in rural areas of province employed youth showed a percentage point change of 4.23.
More youth in the rural areas of KP have been employed by the agriculture sector conversely urban youth have been employed in the manufacturing sector. Agriculture sector does not improve in the urban areas of the KP showing a percentage point change of -0.78 where as in rural areas it has shown an astonishing percentage change of 23.04. Manufacturing sector in the urban KP has shown a tremendous change of 14.32 percent whereas it shows a percentage point change of -0.84 in its rural areas. Unfortunately services sector did not show improvement in both the regions over the last decade showing a percentage point decrease of -13.55 and -22.13 of employed youth in urban and rural areas respectively.
Balochistan employs more of its youth in agriculture as compared to any other sector, showing a percentage point change of 3.32 and 6.22 in its urban and rural areas respectively, which is more than any other sector in the province. Following agriculture sector is manufacturing sector which has provided decent employment opportunities to the youth; it has improved over the last decade by 1.12 and 3.44 percentage points in the urban and rural areas respectively. Unfortunately this resources rich province does not show improvement in the services sectors showing a tremendous decrease in the employed youth of 4.44 and 9.66 percentage points in urban and rural areas respectively.
Services sector is exacting because it does not provide conspicuous employment opportunities except for Punjab and the rural Sindh. Skill development programmes should be introduced across all regions in the country for harnessing the potential of human capital, particularly the youth. Mere provision of education is not enough for employability, rather skill development centres must be efficiently operated to ensure the required skill.
Connecting youth, using web development 2.0 can be one of the viable options in order to handle the employment issues. Entrepreneurship must be encouraged among youth in order to improve employment opportunities.
The current energy crisis is the root-cause of the vicious cycle. All projects which are in abeyance should be completed at the earliest in order to ensure creating required level of jobs which would meet persistent inflow of the labour force. Provincial youth departments should take practical steps in order to ensure uniformity of the employment in both urban and rural areas of the respective provinces.
The article was first published here,