22/09/2004

Job projections far from realistic

Vol XXVII NO. 186 Wednesday 22 September 2004

By AMIRA AL HUSSAINI


BD200 a month? No thanks, I would rather sit at home.

After 12 years at school, four to five years at university, three to four years' searching for a job, is this all a Bahraini is worth?

A survey has just been completed on ways to reform Bahrain's labour market and the results seem to read like a page from the Doomsday Book.

Peasants will have to toil in private sector companies, if they are lucky to land a job, that is, for BD200 a month, says the study.

Seventy-five per cent of all jobs in the private sector pay less than BD200 a month, with labour productivity at one-third of that of the United States, it adds.

Food for thought, I would say. I hope this is not interpreted that many Bahrainis are lazy because this is sure to guarantee an avalanche of sleazy abuse as I have discovered first-hand. "We don't like the message, so let's kill the messenger," seems to be the attitude in this forward-thinking nation.

In all, the private sector will have to produce jobs for the 100,000 Bahrainis entering the labour market over the next 10 years. Throw a few MPs into the picture who will come up with ideas on how such projects could be un-Islamic, and businesses and development come to a standstill. After all, leaving money in a bank vault in Switzerland is much better than creating havoc, riots and rallies in the country - even if it will mean that jobs to feed hungry mouths could also be created. No patriot would allow that or is the gamble worth it?

If the current trend continues (whatever this means), only 800 jobs paying more than BD200 a month are churned out, continues the study.

That is very optimistic, especially when you consider how many thousands graduate from schools, universities and training centres every year.

What will the others do if all those 800 jobs went to Bahrainis that is? Now, I am not good at mathematics but let me see how far this BD200 can go for a Bahraini with dreams and aspirations for a better tomorrow. Will the BD200 be enough to pay for food, rent, car instalments, instalments for that personal loan the bank readily gave you despite not meeting the criteria, clothing, school expenses, health care, etc? You sure don't need a mathematician, a magician would be handy to solve this dilemma.

Not everyone wants to be a doctor - not that doctors are paid enough in Bahrain to begin with. Not everyone wants to continue a university education and not everyone wants to sit at home knitting either.

Every person deserves a decent living but current projections look grim. Without being abusive, I just hope people could be realistic and start at the bottom ranks and make their way upwards. Needless to say, not everyone will make it to the top and the climb, though not scenic all the time, is worth it.

By hard work and persistence, dreams can be achieved. I started with a salary of BD150 and am proud of it. If the clock was turned back, I am sure I would do the same again.

10:27 Posted in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8)

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