Friday, Jul 3, 2020
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Being more employable

Director of Labour John Pinder suggested yesterday that the unemployment rate in The Bahamas could be lowered if Bahamians, particularly young men, exercise more discipline in the workplace. We agree.

The unemployment report was released on Friday. The jobless rate essentially remained the same, moving from 10.1 percent in November to 10 percent in May. Youth unemployment remained high, increasing from 22.1 percent to 24.1 percent.

We’ve essentially had a double-digit jobless rate for a decade – the legacy of the financial crisis. We suspect however, that there is a group of people chronically on the jobless line who are unemployable. These are people who have a poor work ethic; the chronically tardy; those who steal from employers; those with no dispute resolution skills and illiterates who dropped out of school.

There are jobs available but they either can’t get one because of their past conduct, or, if they get one, they quickly lose it because of bad habits.

There are some simple free things any person can do to be a better candidate to find a job, or to keep one. Show up on time. Listen and follow instructions. If on the job, work. Don’t play with your mobile phone or spend all day talking with colleagues. Be respectful of your colleagues and the customers of the business. Show enthusiasm and interest.

Having the maturity and mental toughness to persevere on the job is also important. Work isn’t supposed to be easy and fun. It’s the difficult thing you do to feed yourself and your family. Effort and sacrifice are required.

“We may have persons listed in our skills bank as having the skills to weld, but when they find out that they have to lay on their back welding and it is some very skillful, [tactical] way of doing some welding sometimes, they kind of quit and don’t bother with it,” said Pinder.

“All the employers would have said to us that Bahamians have the ability to perform a lot of these duties, but they don’t have the ‘stickability’ to keep themselves employed.”

If you have some money, instead of spending all of it on liquor, weave, weed and gambling, invest in skills training. Find a field you are interested in. Take courses at accredited institutions. Get certified. Or, seek out an apprenticeship. A high school diploma alone doesn’t prepare anyone for the modern working world.

Jobs are coming. Baha Mar employs more than 4,000 people and it expects to add another 1,000 workers as operations ramp up.

On Paradise Island there is the $250 million Hurricane Hole development. Six hundred construction workers are projected to build the condo and retail offerings. There will be 500 permanent jobs when it’s done.

In his New Year’s address, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a $2.5 billion investment in West End, Grand Bahama over 10 years. Grand Palm Beach Acquisitions Ltd. plans to develop the old Ginn Sur Mer property.

A heads of agreement was signed in March for the $45 million expansion of the Harbour Island Club and Marina. It is expected to produce more than 200 construction jobs and 72 permanent positions. It is estimated the single phase will take two and a half years to complete.

The Pointe development at Bay Street is ongoing and projected to be done in the second quarter of 2020. The forecast is for there to be 500 permanent jobs when it opens.

It’s not the government’s job to find jobs for Bahamians. The government’s role is to use policy and laws to create the conditions for investment, job creation and growth. Those who want work should make themselves marketable to employers, and then prove to be invaluable if hired.

The job market is competitive. If you show you are serious, mature, disciplined, interested and reliable, your chance of getting a job, and keeping one, will increase.



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