Labour Market Issues in Pakistan: Unemployment, Working Conditions, and Child Labour
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Sabur Ghayur: Pakistan office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Islamabad.
The Pakistan Development Review, 1996, vol. 35, issue 4, 789-803
Pakistan’s labour market is showing its inability to continue the past trend of labour absorption. Generation of additional work opportunities commensurate with labour supplies, increasing by over 3 percent annually, has emerged as the most formidable challenge of the nineties. The labour market is presently confronted with the twin menace of unemployment and underemployment. Although, the rate of unemployment has not as yet assumed serious proportions, the worrying aspect of this 5 percent unemployment is its concentration amongst the youth, and educated and trained. The under-utilisation of manpower, however, is manifested in the form of under-employment. There are more than a-tenth of the employed who find their work unable to keep them busy for 35 hours a week [FBS (1994)]. Further, those employed a-quarter of them find their employment income only meeting half of the subsistence requirements, while a similar proportion find their employment income barely managing to meet the subsistence requirements [NMC (1989)]. Lesser productive and low remunerative work opportunities is thus emerging as the major characteristic of the labour market in Pakistan. The situation in the labour market is serious on yet another account. The working conditions of those lucky found employed, by and large, are not satisfactory, rather they are deplorable. Long working hours and poor working conditions are the normal features of a significant number of work places. A number of them also carry occupational safety and health hazards.
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