WEDNESDAY, MAY 2: The Government’s Department of Statistics recently released its annual Employment Briefs.
While it comes as no surprise that there was going to be a further reduction in the number of jobs, the figures were a stark reminder of the state the island is currently in and that something needs to be done sooner than later.
I have stated publicly before, and I’ll say it again — job creation is the only way for the economy to truly recover.
In the midst of the recession, private sector employers are reducing their staffing levels to become more efficient and increase profits.
While this may work for the international business sector, whose revenue is not derived locally, it is a recipe for disaster for local companies that receive their revenue from local consumer demand. We simply cannot cut our way out of a recession — we must create and preserve jobs locally.
The figures released from the Statistics Department show that the public administration sector (Government) is now Bermuda’s top employer, due to job declines in the international business sector. This shows that the Bermuda Government has either made a commitment to preserving jobs or it truly understands that cutting jobs is detrimental to Bermuda.
The Government has not cut jobs, even though the private sector has been calling for Government to reduce the size of the Civil Service.
My question to the private sector is, if Government were to cut a thousand jobs today, then what is next? How do we reemploy these people? How does an extra thousand workers unemployed help the economy?
I urge members of the public to be mindful of the consequences when making those loose suggestions.
The figures also highlight the fact that opportunities exist for unemployed Bermudians in a wide range of job categories that are occupied by a high percentage of non-Bermudians. The data shows that there are 8,374 jobs held by non-Bermudians, which is just over twenty-two per cent of the total jobs in the economy.
As Bermudians we truly need to apply ourselves so that we are considered by employers as employees of choice. We must be “RARE”:
Reliable — performing the promised service dependably and accurately;
Assuring — remaining knowledgeable and courteous, gaining trust and confidence;
Responsive — willing to help customers and provide prompt service;
Empathetic — being caring and paying individual attention to customers.
As employees it is critical that we play our part.
Additionally, Government must assist the unemployed by implementing strategies that will get individuals back to work.
I believe that in the short-term the Immigration policy of freezing work permits is an effective measure for certain job categories, but I also believe a larger long-term national strategy is needed.
I applaud the Government’s partnership with the Bermuda College for specialized job training, the proposed CISCO Academy, the Job Core initiative and all other job generating initiatives that they may have. And I encourage all to take full advantage of whatever opportunity that may exist that will lead to employment.
• Jason Hayward is First Vice president, BPSU.