Bangladesh : Seeking Better Employment Conditions for Better Socioeconomic Outcomes

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      Over the past two decades, Bangladesh has experienced sustained economic growth as it has transformed itself from an agricultural-based economy to one more reliant on exports and manufacturing. At the same time, there have been important reductions in poverty and improvements in gender equality. However, the rate of employment creation has been unable to keep pace with the significant rise in the working-age population. The result is that informal employment remains persistently high and many Bangladeshis, particularly youth, want to move permanently to another country in search of better employment prospects. This study on Bangladesh, part of the on-going series entitled Studies on Growth with Equity, highlights that many of these migrant workers are often confronted with difficult employment conditions abroad and their remittances have not translated into higher investment – which has further dampened productivity gains and formal job creation at home. The report calls for the government to work together with social partners to enhance job creation and reduce informality by: (i) improving productivity and occupational health and safety; (ii) removing the obstacles to higher investment, including leveraging remittances for broad development objectives; (iii) improving basic education and skills matching; and (iv) reducing further gender inequities, especially in terms of employment outcomes. Part of that strategy will include ensuring that social programmes are more effective at establishing a floor for longer-term development needs.
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