An area where the state government looks very keen to show results is providing employment. The government these days has turned its focus on entrepreneurship and promoting startups in an effort to create jobs. Yet the pace of new job openings are slow looking at the limited number of vacancies coming up compared to the large number entering the job stream.
On May 11, a job fair was held in Socorro, Porvorim, the first of a series of job fairs for 2018, organised by the government to bring together employers and job seekers. The event aimed at speeding up the selection process and providing a quick solution to the unemployment problem.
The job fair drew aspirants in large numbers but it reflected the dilemma facing the Goan unemployed. Jobs were available but not appealing. Around 4,000 youth registered at the job fair for 1500 vacancies from 56 companies.
The companies were from six different sectors such as hospitality, retail, automobile, IT, pharmaceutical, real estate, etc., and the vacancies were for both blue-collar and white-collar jobs. On the other hand, the job seekers were youngsters and experienced holding commerce, engineering degrees, post-graduate diplomas from technical, management and other professional courses. They came from all over the state, from Navelim, Curchorem, Ponda, Margao and other localities.
For Prateek Asnoldkar, 32 years, Bicholim, the job fair was among the many he attended over the years. A civil draftsman, Asnoldkar says that, he worked with couple of architect, construction, interior designer firms all of which were unsatisfactory in one or the other way. “Sometimes the problem was of mean boss and other times it was the pay,” he says. According to Asnoldkar, most local firms pay measly salaries and it is the major reason for his being in the job market and constantly changing office.
Meleny D’Souza, 25 years, says it is her first job fair as she is already working. D’Souza with five years of experience as front office executive in a hotel claims to earn about Rs 18,000 per month. She said that, she registered at the event for better prospects and because she wanted to change industry. “I am looking for a non-hotel job and want to work in a service industry that offers me a better package,” she says. D’Souza adds that, she is submitted her CV to several companies and is yet to get a response.
Other than experienced candidates like Asnoldkar and D’Souza, a major chunk of the applicants were pass-outs from the engineering colleges or would be graduates waiting for results.
The regional employment exchange has organised five job fairs over one-and-half years wherein more than 11,000 job seekers registered. Around 200 employers participated with 4,000 vacancies. Of them only 500 candidates were given employment letters. It is a poor track record of employment and indicates a success rate of only 12.5 per cent. It points to a gross disparity between availability and what is on offer from employers.
According to industry, 80 per cent of the local candidates who accept job offers at the fairs fail to show up at the work place because of which the vacancies are filled by outsiders. “They do not want private industry jobs and are only seeking government jobs, said an unit owner. He added that the other problem is of lack of skills. Local youth are not suited for the openings on hand which is why industrial estates in the state are populated by people from Karwar or Sindhudurg.
However according to the youth, salary is a major stumbling block in private jobs. “Local firms have no benefits to speak of. They offer minimum pay with the least of facilities for employees. There is not enough leave or overtime and travel allowance, ” said Asoldkar. He said it is the major reason for the large number of working Goans at all job fairs.
Meanwhile, at the Porvorim job fair, the average scale of pay was distressing. Fresh engineering graduates were offered annual salary package ranging between Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 1.80 lakh per annum. It translates into a monthly salary between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 and is not enough to cover the cost of education or the effort taken in studying. Similarly, BCom and BSc graduates with no experience were offered low salaries.
Official data (see table) shows that Goan industrial sector’s record in providing jobs is poor. Industry created as less as 251 jobs in 2017, which was about 18 per cent of the jobs provided by the employment exchange. Further the trend of industry employing from the exchange is erratic and shows deceleration over the years.
To be sure, the employment exchange is not the only source of candidates for industry. Yet the large number of registrations in every job fair reveals that, industry overall is not recruiting enough locals. And meager employment by local units is largely because of low salaries on offer. It is the reason why, the local pharmaceutical industry takes bulk of its staff from other states and also the cause of engineering graduates migrating in large numbers to metro cities.
The local job scene is entered into a no-win situation where youth do not take up jobs on offer because of low salaries and become unemployable due to lack of training, expertise, etc.
On the Sandip Bhandare, president, Goa Chamber of Commerce, terms it the “expectation gap” between the job seeker and the employer. “When an employee demands for a particular salary he or she is looking at the cost of living and aspiration, while industry is looking at pay from performance point of view. The difference in outlook is the expectation gap that needs to be addressed from both the sides,” says Bhandare.
Goa’s job scene continues to be disturbing. The number of unemployed at the live register is increasing and the government is the primary provider of jobs. The bulk of the unemployed registered in the exchange are 12th standard pass, followed by graduates and post graduates.
There are incentive schemes to encourage industry to employ locals. Also industrial policies such as the IT Startup Policy and the Investment Policy are also geared towards promoting jobs to local youth. The influx of outsiders from other states in industrial jobs is become a touchy issue.