Labor Ministry Calls for Lao Nationals to Apply for Jobs in Laos

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the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Ms. Baykham Khattiya meet up with workers at a garment factory in Laos (photo: KPL)

Laos is grappling with a severe labor shortage crisis as youths increasingly seek higher wages through employment opportunities abroad. In an effort to retain its workforce within national borders, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare has issued an urgent appeal to Lao nationals, both at home and abroad, to consider employment opportunities within Laos.

Moreover, the gap between the minimum wage and the cost of living remains substantial, prompting many Lao workers to seek opportunities abroad where competitive wages are offered. Countries such as Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, and Japan have emerged as preferred destinations for Lao migrant workers, presenting challenges for domestic labor supply.

The notice issued by the ministry on 28 March also emphasized the urgent need for workers across businesses in Laos, which have been grappling with staffing shortages. 

Local authorities have been directed to gather data on Lao villagers employed abroad, the count of unemployed individuals, and those earning low incomes seeking improved job opportunities. The announcement emphasized the criticality of precise data collection in tackling unemployment, emphasizing the negative ramifications of insufficient employment statistics on recruitment procedures and labor market indicators.

Meanwhile, young job seekers are encouraged to visit job placement centers set up by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare or check the ministry’s website for job opportunities matching their skills. These platforms assist in job searches and help identify suitable vacancies, according to the Lao government. 

 

However, despite efforts to retain workers domestically, Laos continues to grapple with a persistent labor shortage, exacerbated by factors such as low wages, inflation, and currency depreciation. Although the government has initiated measures to increase the minimum wage, reluctance among some employers to adjust wages has hindered progress in addressing the crisis.

Efforts to address labor issues include collaborative initiatives between the government and organizations such as the Lao Federation of Trade Unions and the Lao Employment Business Association. These endeavors aim to empower workers, promote better industry practices, and enhance negotiation capacity with employers and authorities.

Overcoming these obstacles requires concerted efforts from stakeholders to foster a conducive environment for both employers and workers alike.