The project will help the country’s planning and implementation of labor policies and training programs
The Bahamas Department of Statistics, with technical support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has launched a national wage and productivity survey to gather information from employers at 600 organizations across major industries in the Bahamas.
The project will provide essential data for the effective planning and efficient implementation of both national and employer-based policies to develop effective training programs and to increase the labor force’s skills base and productivity.
The survey will focus on key data, including employee productivity levels, company training procedures, needs assessments, employee competency levels, wages by occupation and innovation in the workplace.
“By collecting data in both training institutions and economic establishments, this project will contribute to understanding the link between the skills attained by Bahamians and the current demand for skills in the private sector,” said Maria Victoria Fazio, a project team member of the IDB’s Labor Markets and Social Security Unit, which promotes the creation of more and better jobs in the region.
“The analysis from this study will provide policy guidelines to close the potential skills gaps for better employability and more productive job creation in the Bahamas.” In addition, a complementary training mapping exercise that is a part of the project will also provide evidence-based information on whether the education system is adequately supplying the market with the right mix of skills, noted Annelle Bellony of the Bank’s Education Division, which supports better school-to-work transitions.
The launching of the survey is timely as the Bahamas is in the initial stage of a boom in foreign direct investment (FDI), promoted by the government to reinvigorate economic sectors such as tourism. The country has been successful in attracting US$18 billion worth of FDI that could generate more than 33,000 jobs in construction and tourism. However, matching the supply of labor in terms of skills and location with the demand may prove difficult.
According to a previous survey undertaken as an occupational wage survey, conducted in 2007, 65% of Bahamian CEOs said they believed that there was a serious skills shortage, and 80% thought that the shortage would impact the country’s future economic growth.
“We are pleased that the Department of Statistics and the IDB will be conducting this survey that will provide valuable data as it relates to wages by industry as well as the training needs of the business community. The data relating to productivity will also be of significant value as it will identify any gaps that we need to address on a national level to make our business community more competitive and attractive to foreign direct investment,” said Winston C. Rolle, CEO of the Bahamas Chambers of Commerce and Employers Confederation. “The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation is encouraging its members to actively participate in this important survey as it will also help to shape future training programs of the Chamber Institute, much to the benefit of our members,” he added.
Once the data are collected and analyzed, they will be shared with national stakeholders and will be used to provide guidance to the Bahamian government and the private sector to create effective labor force skills development and policies.