A study has found that Malawi’s employment landscape for youth is characterised not only by scarcity of jobs outside the agriculture sector but also insufficient work hours for those employed in agriculture.
Using three rounds of the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) done by the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri), the study has since tipped government to design programmes and incentives to supply high quality jobs in which better educated Malawians can use their skills more productively.
According to the study, agriculture remains the sector in which most Malawians first obtain employment, and it is only later in their working lives that workers, particularly males, are in a position to obtain employment outside agriculture.
It reads: “Malawi’s challenging employment landscape for youth is characterised by a scarcity of jobs outside agriculture and insufficient work hours within agriculture.
“The younger youth category experienced a reduction in employment across all sectors, as increasing number maintained their student status.
“Growth rates for all sectors of employment for younger youth are negative, reflecting increasing delays in entering the work force.”
In terms of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, employment changes show a decline in agricultural employment between 2004 and 2016.
For example, for all workers aged 15-64 years, the share of FTE jobs in the agricultural sector declined from 74.7 to 69.9 percent between 2004 and 2016, driven by younger youth, whose work time in agriculture has declined by almost a third.
Adults’ share of FTE service sector jobs almost doubles over this period.
The study has since observed that many of the jobs created in the non-farm sectors today are of relatively low productivity and offer little more in terms
of economic output than can be achieved in smallholder farming. of economic output than can be Advises the report : “Consequently, while government needs to put in place adequate incentives for Malawians to find and engage in remunerative work in all three sectors of the economy, agriculture will remain the sector in which most Malawians are employed for the foreseeable future.
“Therefore, it is important that public investments supporting growth and change in the structure of the economy of Malawi do not neglect agriculture nor the role of youth within agriculture.”
Retrenchments due to harsh economic environment have dealt a heavy blow to the Tonse Alliance administration’s election campaign promise to create one million jobs in the first 12 months in office.
But in his address on February 28, President Lazarus Chakwera argued that his government has come up with deliberate plans to create the jobs, including the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
“We promised to create one million jobs for the young men and women of our country. And deliberately, all the programmes we are implementing have a job-creating effect,” he said.
S p e a k i n g d u r i n g t h e commemoration of the Labour Day at the weekend, Employers Consultative Association of Malawi board chairperson Zandile Shaba said one of the greatest challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has brought was massive job losses in the country.
In its Assessment of the Impact of Covid-19 on Employment in Malawi, Ecam and the International Labour Organisation estimated that the pandemic would cost the Malawi labour market between 273 712 and 680 496 current and future jobs.
The assessment projected that if the crisis persists in the first quarter of 2021, the sector could lose 274 084 jobs.
Malawi Congress of Trade Union general secretary Denis Kalekeni said yesterday government needs to cushion and provide a conducive environment for the private sector by creating a social protection scheme.