Syed Ishtiaque Reza
Since the beginning of nineties, trade liberalization and market based economic policy, paved the way for the Bangladesh’s private sector to lead the country from the forefront. Although ready made garment (RMG) industry generated maximum employment and still dominates the export basket, the white-collar corporate jobs are mainly in the areas of Telco, fast moving consumer goods, pharmaceutical and the financial sector, thanks to the mushroom growth of banks and leasing companies.
But the scenario seems not remained healthy as we used to see fifteen years ago. During those days, big conglomerates, financial institutions, Telco Companies and many others used to announce robust hiring plans. Campus placements used to see recruiters making eye-propping offers. In recent months situation appears not so conducive for the businesses.
When the government doubled or tripled the salaries and fringe benefits of its staff, the private sector found the situation difficult to cope with. Almost for a decade, the salaries in the private sector (except a few exceptions) remained unchanged. Moreover, many private establishments went for ruthless shedding of jobs to remain profitable or to sustain.
Job security is now the biggest concern of the people in media, in the financial sector, in the telco establishments and all other major sectors. Employers say, the situation is not so good as it was in the late nineties and middle of twenties. Both global and local contexts contributed to this change. And when the scenario is like this, over 500,000 Indians and Sri Lankans occupied top positions in the private sector in Bangladesh with huge salaries and benefits.
Employers say, they are bound to employ foreign nationals as local employees lack the requisite skills. Here lies the answer to the question of job security and the insecurity. One of the key factors is that our people are not learning new skills. As computer software system needs to be updated, an employee needs to continuously upskill him or herself to stay relevant. People who fail to adapt in the changing scenario easily become vulnerable. It is not to handle the present condition of services, but very important to show the management that they can handle the future needs of the workplace too. An employee needs to acquire a niche or useful skill to secure his/her job.
Another area of job insecurity is failing to work in a team. Interpersonal skill is highly important in a workplace. Even the most brilliant one or the best performer cannot survive in a corporate world without a team mentality. One has to get along well with co-workers. A friendly employee is always preferred by the office even if he is not so competent.
Some people are workaholic, some are modest. It is up to the employees to decide what speed they would maintain. If someone does less work than the last year, the management is certain to become worry. This raises the chance of insecurity as the top bosses can think that this individual is not really required. If there is doubt about performance, one has to change the perception by becoming pro-active to secure the job.
Private job is all about company profit and loss. It is not only the responsibility of the sales team to contribute to the company’s bottom line, but also the duty of other employees to earn their salaries in their own ways. One’s salary increment shows how much the company loves him.
Job security is ensured when one employee’s opinions and ideas matter in an organization. It is great if the office bosses consult an employee to get suggestions to improve businesses. If someone is sidelined, the employee must try to know why this has happened.
These are all suggestions. But the reality is that private sector professionals are looking for job security now more than ever as the job crisis is looming large. The situation is so grave that private employees think that job security is more important than other factors such as salary and perks.
The wave of uncertainty in the private sector raised the love for government jobs. Even the highly educated youths look for even non-officer positions if those are in the government offices. The security and comfort of government jobs hold appeal for our young generations. Although still markets dominate the economy, the government is one of the country’s most coveted employers.
Job insecurity is a nightmare for the private sector employees in Bangladesh. To help the economy grow in a healthy way, it is the time for the policy makers, the political leadership to do something to bring back the confidence in the private sector.
Syed Ishtiaque Reza is the Editor in Chief of GTV and sarabangla.net