Labour market registered high demand for construction workers in 2021 |22 April 2022
In 2021, the employment department approved 14,478 (85% out of a total applications) posts to be occupied by non-Seychellois workers compared to 8,565 (81% out of total applications) in 2020 and 10,522 (76%) in 2019.
The number of job seekers was 2,477 and under the ‘My First Job Scheme’, 447 people were employed representing 72% of the applicants.
These figures were shared yesterday by Employment and Social Affairs Minister Patricia Francourt, employment principal secretary Jules Baker, executive director Veronique Bresson and chief policy analyst Susan Morel during a presentation on the labour market performance for the year 2021 held at the International Conference Centre Seychelles (ICCS). The statistics are for the period January to December 2021.
“Last year when we presented the statistics, we were at the peak of Covid-19 and the programmes we had in place to assist businesses had come to an end. The employment department had worked tirelessly putting in huge efforts to ensure that people who have registered got an opportunity for a job. The work was intensified as we knew it was paramount for us to put our people in jobs as best as we could. We had launched the upskilling and reskilling programmes and jobseekers were encouraged to join these programmes. We are very pleased to report that many young adults took the opportunity to join the programmes. This year we are doing the same and more people are coming to register,” summarised Minister Francourt.
“The job market as we saw in the statistics did very well in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2020, redundancies were higher and businesses were not recruiting. So, we know for sure, as the government opened our borders in March 2021, it gave confidence to the market and businesses. We are happy to report that there were more vacancies and people were able to get a job. We worked in partnership with the agencies/companies that had more than 10 vacancies so that we were able to advertise the vacant posts twice a week on television,” explained Minister Francourt.
As for Ms Morel, she gave a thorough presentation of the report and noted that in 2021, out of the 2,477 jobseekers, 43% had a post-secondary qualification and 52% chose occupations in group services and sales.
“We were able to facilitate 1,837 job placements and 58% were females. In the bracket of 15-24 years, there were 995 job seekers and for the age bracket 25-44 years there were 1,353.
Ms Morel noted that in 2021, they registered more job seekers due to redundancies and also because of companies not employing people. Many had to follow the skills development programme and 209 job seekers went through the programme in 2021 compared to 477 in 2020 and 389 in 2019.
In total, 5,449 vacancies were registered in 2021 with 2,801 in accommodation and food service activities; 1,074 in construction; 596 in manufacturing and the rest in 17 other categories.
PS Baker talked about the various programmes the department of employment did, such as ‘My First Job Scheme’ which has been a huge success.
“Although the figures of 2021 showed many youths looking for a job, in 2022 from January to now, we have registered 723 jobseekers,” said PS Baker.
Regarding the conditions of work in some organisations/businesses which keep complaining that there are no Seychellois workers, Minister Francourt and PS Baker said they are aware of that and noted this is why many of the gainful occupation permit (GOP) requests were denied.
“Even though there was a pandemic, 731 inspections were made to different organisations and 129 cases were prosecuted and they were proven guilty. Since the beginning of this year, we have brought 22 cases before the court. Many employers do not want to come before the ministry as they know the consequences,” shared PS Baker.
Non-Seychellois employees in Seychelles
Ms Morel noted that non-Seychellois applied for 17,061 posts in 2021 compared to 10,591 in 2020 and 13,914 pre-pandemic period in 2019.
The industries representing the highest number of posts applied in 2021 were construction (7,440); accommodation and food service activities (3,371); wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (1,485) and manufacturing (1,022).
Ms Morel shared that 49% of posts applied were new compared to 51% renewal posts and this is a different pattern compared to the last two years where new positions comprised a higher percentage of posts for non-Seychellois workers. The employment department approved 14,478 (85% out of total applications) posts to be occupied by non-Seychellois workers compared to 8,565 (81% out of the total applications) in 2020 and 10,522 (76%) in 2019.
To conclude, the employment department noted that the labour market improved from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic by end of 2021, despite discontinuation of employment programmes and financial support to businesses in early 2021.
There are still signs of underlying issues, however, which persist such as skills mismatch and business high reliance on foreign workers. The trend for the first quarter of 2022 shows similar positive path with high labour demand albeit persisting effects of the pandemic on jobseekers and ongoing uncertainty with the Russia/Ukraine conflict, although the impact is yet to be felt
Minister Francourt said that for 2022, we have to stay vigilant and she urged all Seychellois jobseekers to take a job and stay in jobs and secure the jobs for the betterment of Seychelles. Also, discussions are ongoing with the Ministry of Education and other ministries to see how to better prepare our people to take up some of the demands of the market.