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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


Almost 12,000 Youth Reportedly Unemployed In Fiji
Unqualified youth workforce faces lack of jobs

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 29, 2013) – A total of 11,860 youths remain unemployed in Fiji.

This is according to latest figures released by the Ministry of Labour's National Employment Centre (NEC).

According to NEC, out of the 11,860 unemployed youths, 5,309 were males and 6,551 were females ranging from 15 years of age to 25.

Labour Minister Jone Usamate said the highest number of youths unemployed came from the Central/Eastern Division amounting to 5,532 followed by 4,529 in the Western Division and 1,799 in the Northern Division.

Mr. Usamate said the reasons for the high number of unemployed youths were:

  • Low qualifications where a high number of school leavers exit school at an early age;
  • Tightness in the formal employment sector of the Fijian economy; and
  • A lack of job opportunities.

He said the adverse effect of the global financial crisis, lack of creative ideas and minds, replacement of workers by technology, mismatch of labor supply and demand, no co-ordination between industries and education institutions, lack of supervision from parents, and urban migration were other factors which also led to the high unemployment rates among youths.

Mr. Usamate said many of the clients registered with NEC were school leavers.

"The centre was established to provide a one stop centre for unemployed to find employment and to up-skill and prepare them to enter the labor market," he said.

Mr. Usamate said since the establishment of NEC, 1,390 youths found employment which was 5 percent of the total registered unemployed.

"We do not have data of those clients who have been terminated from their jobs after finding employment from NEC."

He said unemployment was a huge challenge globally and had adverse effects on developing countries like Fiji.

Mr. Usamate said the ministry under NEC provided training in areas of formal employment, self employment, foreign employment and the Fiji Volunteer Service.

"Apart from the unique feature of NEC, the ministry is closely working with various stakeholders in other regional countries within the Melanesian Spearhead Group for employment opportunities for our unemployed clients," he said.

Mr. Usamate said the ministry was inviting possible candidates for job opportunities in the United Arab Emirates.

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