Sri Lanka is facing an acute shortage of manpower for skilled labor, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) last year.
According to the first ever establishment/enterprise survey carried out by the DCS to capture the labor demand in the country in 2017, the number of existing labor vacancies by June 2017 was estimated at 497,302 for various categories of jobs.
Releasing the Report of the Labor Demand Survey- 2017, the Director General of DCS Dr. A.J. Satharasinghe stated that the main objective of this survey was to identify the highly demand occupations in country and estimate the demand in numbers.
According to the report, around 5 million people are engaged in employment in the private sector. The highest number of employees was reported in the Services sector and among the occupation group, the highest number of employees was reported in “Service and Sales Workers” category in 2017.
Highest demand for labor is reported for Sewing Machine Operators (77,189) followed by the security guards (57,008).
Among the professional categories, high demand was reported for Mechanical Engineering technicians, Accounting Associate professionals and Nursing professionals.
Western province has the highest number of labor demand and Eastern province has the lowest. Among the sectors, highest percentage of labor demand for Industry sector was recorded from North-Western province.
Further the survey reveals the formal sector intends to hire around 74,000 tailors dress makers and hatters and around 70,000 commercial and sales representatives in the next 12 months.
Both formal and informal sector establishments/enterprises have reported that they are unable to hire sewing machine operators immediately because of scarcity.
According to the employer of the private sector the first time job seekers with at least secondary level educational background and vocational training are well prepared for the job than the recruits with only the technical and vocational training.
The results reveals that team working and oral communication skills are the most needed soft skills for a good career in the private sector.
The Director General hoped the survey to be a tool for identifying the demand for employment requiring different skills and formulate appropriate policies related to education and vocational training in the country.
The detailed report has been published in the Department of Census and Statistics website.