RMG faces challenge to woo mid-level talents: Study

Dhaka,  Thu,  24 August 2017
Published : 16 Jul 2017, 22:02:07 | Updated : 17 Jul 2017, 15:09:47
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RMG faces challenge to woo mid-level talents: Study

FE Report
The growing Bangladesh economy has created many opportunities for young workers in the labour market, but such opportunities in turn create new challenges for the RMG sector to attract required talent - particularly in supervisory level.

A recent study titled 'Overcoming barriers to female managers in the RMG sector' have revealed that the economy of Bangladesh has grown at a rapid rate over the past 25 years, driven by the remarkable growth of the ready-made garment (RMG) sector, but opportunities in the broader economy in turn created new challenges for the RMG to attract the talented youths - thereby creating shortage in number of required supervisory talents.

The study shows that while more than three-quarters of sewing operators are women, fewer than five per cent of sewing supervisors are female.

The study, prepared by Christopher Woodruff of the University of Oxford, was presented on Sunday at a conference titled 'Seeds of Change in the Garment Industry' held at a city hotel.

The conference was organised by the International Growth Centre (IGC) in partnership with the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) of the BRAC University.

President of the Bangladesh Employers' Foundation (BEF) Salahuddin Kasem Khan was the chief guest in the programme where Chief Executive Officer of the Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI) Ali Ahmed was the special guest.

Four other papers titled 'Poverty and Migration in the Digital Age: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking in Bangladesh' by Jonathan Morduch of the New York University, 'On-The-Job Training Increase Employment for Rural Poor in the Manufacturing Sector: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh' by Abu Shonchoy of the New York University, 'Monitoring and Improvement in Physical Working Conditions: Evidence from 'The Accord Initiative' in Bangladesh' by Atonu Rabbani of the University of Dhaka and 'Consequences of Imperfect Information about building safety and garment workers and factories' by Laura Boudreau of the University of California Berkeley were also presented at the conference.

In his presentation, Christopher Woodruff said increasing the rates of women promotion could be one solution to the supervisory skills shortage.

"We examined challenges in promoting women into supervisory roles through experimental work with partner factories," he said.

According to him, they found that the factories must overcome at least three challenges like lower levels of self-confidence of female supervisor candidates; resistance from others - especially the male operators; and often ambivalent attitudes of higher-level managers to promote the women into the supervisory roles.

The study of Abu Shonchoy's 'On-The-Job Training Increase Employment for Rural Poor in the Manufacturing Sector: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh' shows that vocational training programmes aimed at the rapidly-growing sectors have the potential to reduce skills gaps, improve income and employment potentials.

The paper 'Poverty and Migration in the Digital Age: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking in Bangladesh' showed that the ability to quickly and cheaply transfer money by mobile banking has allowed migrant factory workers to easily send money home when needed.

It shows that the rural households reduced borrowings, increased savings, and saw gains in health, education and agricultural productivity by means of utilising mobile banking services.

Atonu Rabbani's study titled 'Monitoring and Improvement in Physical Working Conditions: Evidence from 'The Accord Initiative' in Bangladesh' revealed that there was a wide variation in physical compliance-related issues within the sector in the baseline and also in subsequent initiatives to meet the compliance need of the factories.

"Using a time-to-event analysis, we showed that the progress was generally slower for the types of problems that require larger fixed costs," he said in his presentation.

Mr. Khan said the RMG sector is one of the key drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction herein Bangladesh and hence research in this area is of utmost importance to the policymakers.

"I think such researches would also help add value to this important sector," he hoped.

wazeddu@yahoo.com
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