Changing patterns and levels of employment

Employment is the work that people do in an economy. Over time, patterns of employment change: some industries go into decline and jobs disappear while new types of industries and jobs develop.

Employment levels too change over time due to many reasons. It could be due to the effects of business/economic cycle that every economy goes through from time to time. It could be due to the changes to the demographics of the country. It could also be due to structural changes.

If we want to look at the changes to the patterns of employment, it will be easier to understand it if we look into a particular economy. For the purpose of this topic, let us look into the economy of Maldives.

Women at work
Over the past 30 years, we have seen that more and more women choose to work and even take up careers which used to be done by only men. This could partly be due to flexibility and the rights given by the changes to the employment laws and regulations.

Other reasons for women in the skilled work force is due to increased opportunities for girls to achieve higher education. There was a time when Maldivian families used to give more importance to the education of boys rather than girls. However, this has changed due to increased awareness.

However, employment rate among men is still higher than women.

Rise of the service sector
Over the past 30 years, service sector has gained dominance in Maldives, largely due to the tourism sector. Other service industries like Banking, Insurance, Education, Private Healthcare and Consultancy has also increased in importance in the Maldivian economy.

Expatriate workers
Gone are the days when we used to see Maldivians working as waiters in the tea shops and cafeterias. Almost all the labour and odd-jobbing are now done by expatriate workers, mostly from Bangladesh. Other industries in which expatriate workers dominate are construction and agriculture. Tourism industry too has a a big percentage of expatriate workers. The reason for this could be due to the availability of workers from neighbouring countries who are willing to work at a lower wage rate than Maldivians.

More skilled workers
Over the past 40 years, skilled workers have been increasing among the Maldivian work force. This could be due to increased availability of education and training programs. Therefore more and more people are seen taking up professional careers.

Part-time workers
A huge increase in part-time staff has occurred again mainly due to more women being in the workplace and many only work part-time due to child care commitments.

The increase in students going to college and university has also resulted in a large temporary workforce available to work as receptionists, sales persons, cashiers, tutors and similar jobs.

Next topic: Causes and consequences of unemployment

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