Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Somebody Making Sense - For Once

Caught this yesterday:

"Amendments to the Employment Act 1955 and the increase in the number of childcare centres run by the private sector are expected to encourage locals to take up employment in certain sectors and minimise the country’s dependence on foreign workers...Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan said the amendments, among others, would allow workers to work on shift or on a part-time basis, apart from enjoying protection in terms of wages, welfare and annual leave, she said."

This is very, very important...much more so than implementing a minimum wage. The key stat mentioned in the article is 6.5 million people in the working age brackets (15-64) that are not in the work force.

Want a high income economy? Get everyone involved - at the moment, the income of some 11 million workers is spread over 26 million citizens. If you get even half of the missing to enter the workforce, we're talking about a 25% boost to labour supply as well as an unquantified boost to consumption demand.

I'm not blind to the potential difficulties here - some of those not officially in the workforce are actually working in the "black" economy; some (many actually, a full 2.5 million of the population are between ages 15-19) are still in the education system. But there's no doubt that many women have opted out of formal employment due to childcare concerns. Addressing their concerns will go a long way, as will bolstering the legal and regulatory protections extended to part-time and self employed workers (I talked about this in passing here).

I'm doing some research into demographics right now (just downloaded the data yesterday), so stay tuned for more on this issue.

Just to underscore the point I'm making, a chart from the DOS Q3 2009 Labour Force Survey:

No comments:

Post a Comment