Government Holds Job Fair Amidst Labor Shortage Crisis

Government Holds Job Fair Amidst Labor Shortage Crisis
A shot taken from the job fair (photo: Lao National Radio)

Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Laos held a job festival on 22 March in Vientiane Capital in a move to seek recruitment for over 50 companies amidst the country’s labor shortage crisis. 

The festival, organized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, aimed to address the pressing need for filling 560 positions across 56 companies, requiring approximately 1,800 workers. The event witnessed participation from both domestic and international employers, entrepreneurs, and numerous job seekers. 

During the festival, applicants were provided opportunities to interview with their preferred job units.

This move has garnered attention on social media with some users expressing their concern over the current labor situation. 

“Inflation, rising cost of living and subpar wages, of course people aren’t gonna join the workforce and look abroad as the opportunity is far more promising than at home,” wrote one Facebook user. “If you propose better pays, combat inflation, a wider array of positions then more people will be interested, if the labor market remains bland and not competitive then the problem will persist,” 

Laos has been grappling with a labor shortage crisis since 2023, with workers leaving the country due to low wages, rising inflation, and the depreciation of the Lao kip. 

However, despite government initiatives to raise the minimum wage, several companies across the country still show reluctance to adapt to the increased wages fearing the move could negatively affect their operations. 

Currently, the minimum monthly wage in Laos stands at LAK 1.6 million (USD 76.22). Only 10 percent of all organizations across the country had adjusted their minimum wage in line with the government’s initiative. 

This highlights Laos’ struggle  in curbing the long-standing issue of its labor crisis. While efforts have been made to retain workers domestically, many continue to pursue opportunities abroad for better pay and quality of life. According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Lao migrant workers are primarily employed in Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, and Japan, with significant numbers lacking proper permits in certain countries.