IMF report says formal employment is lagging behind; Caribbean Employment Services Inc. offers a solution
ROSEAU, DOMINICA — With formal employment dangerously lagging behind the country’s economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is encouraging more residents to pursue formal jobs in Dominica.
Informal jobs are those that do not have a standardized, regulated employer. They include occupations like beach and roadside vendors.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, informal jobs have been on a perilous uptick throughout the Caribbean.
With most tourism workers being laid off, many turned to informal jobs to stay afloat in the interim.
However, as the economy of respective countries recovered, high instances of job informality still remained.
Now, the IMF is calling more attention to the issue in Dominica, which it notes has been slower to recover formal jobs than other Caribbean nations have been.
Formal jobs in Dominica are struggling to recover
After a recent assessment of the country’s economic standing and recovery in the wake of COVID-19, the IMF found that formal jobs in Dominica are still below pre-pandemic levels.
This is unlike the case in countries like Jamaica and Barbados, where efforts to diversify the economy away from tourism have paid off as formal jobs rebounded faster than expected.
“The formal labour market is lagging the GDP recovery,” the IMF noted in its report.
“Formal employment, estimated at about half of the labour force, has been slower to recover, remaining nine percent below pre-pandemic levels in 2021.”
Even worse, the IMF found that young Dominican men seem to be the most impacted by this statistic, being a demographic that already struggles with labour force participation in many Caribbean countries.
An urgent need for more formal jobs in Dominica
One of the reasons informal jobs are so dangerous is that they leave workers extremely vulnerable to external shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
While formal workers have some measures of protection, such as group insurance benefits and other financial support mechanisms that can come into play in a worst-case scenario, informal workers usually lack such options.
Added to this is the fact that many Dominicans are struggling to make ends meet, according to the IMF report.
This leaves informal workers at high risk of poverty, making the organization’s call for immediate action to facilitate more formal employment all the more urgent.
Caribbean Employment Services Inc. and similar resources exist to better help jobseekers access a wide range and variety of formal job openings to fit their skills, while also modernizing the jobseeking, recruitment and hiring process in a way that benefits workers, employers and respective labour markets on the whole.