Barbados govt. to review labour market as nation moves towards post-pandemic reality

PM Mottley says Barbados projected to have a smaller workforce within 13 years if no remedial action taken 

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — The government will have to undertake a “serious review” of its labour market to identify any shortages and take appropriate action, said Prime Minister Mia Mottley during a Prime Ministerial Global Town Hall Meeting for Barbadians Living the Diaspora on Thursday.

“I think that the whole world is going through issues with respect to the labour market,” the prime minister acknowledged.

A mock newspaper with the words “job market” at the top.

“The Financial Times has been running stories recently about the future of work and why, if you look in the United States of America, there’s a shortage of persons available for transport, driving and hospitality services; you look in the United Kingdom, it’s the same thing.

“Something is going on in the world now and we’re still very much still suffering from the consequences of the pandemic. I have no doubt that once this pandemic starts to settle…people are going to become accustomed to a new reality and it is too early to say where that is going to settle. There will probably have to be a serious review of our labour market.”


Closing labour market gaps

Concerns about labour shortages are heightened by Mottley’s revelation that “it is projected that within 13 years, that we are likely to have a smaller workforce than we currently have now”, which she asserted is even more dire than the climate crisis.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

“Now, those things are serious and this country, therefore, has to take remedial action to be able to close that gap,” Mottley stressed.

However, the prime minister also emphasized initiatives like training programmes and a new immigration bill to engender labour market transformation in Barbados.

“The National Transformation Initiative, as I told you, is one of the key things, along with the work being done by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training in terms of preparing people for the new skills,” she said.

“The recognition that where we have shortages, that is where the new immigration bill will come in to assist and for the transferal of skills.”

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    Mottley added, “It’s a little too early, I think, for that kind of assessment, but I have no doubt that we’re going to have to have a comprehensive review of our labour market and what we have to do in order to be able to advance it and make it more effective and efficient in the context of post-pandemic reality.”

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