Forum focusses on future jobs

SIXTY-FIVE senior officers from the government and private sectors and non-governmental organisations attended a forum on youth unemployment issues and job futures in Brunei Darussalam, according to a statement from the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS).

The forum comprehensively looked at many aspects of unemployment using a whole-of-government approach.

Forum’s main facilitator CSPS Chief Researcher Dr Diana Cheong said the study of a sustainable job future for youth is CSPS’ new and main study for this year.

Hence, ‘Job Futures’ is a key concept.

The forum emphasised that a broader definition of unemployment is required.

A number of manpower planning policies to reduce unemployment were recommended such as improving childcare facilities for women to enter the labour force and public infrastructure such as transportation for ease of going to work.

Other recommendations included improving human resource practices and employment regulations and expanding vocational and technical education, reducing mismatch between job preferences and available jobs and disparities in the labour market by improving the attractiveness of the more manual private sector occupations, changing mindset and mentality and providing more sustainable and attractive job opportunities.

To improve job opportunities, it is important to consider what type of industrial clusters, jobs, skills and qualifications need to be established.

This is in view of social changes and huge impact of automation and technology leading to creation of new and disappearance of many existing jobs.

The CSPS team led by researcher Yuzilawati binti Abdullah presented four archetypal job futures scenarios for Brunei to apply the ‘Manoa foresighting’ approach.

The first scenario looked at the job landscape with continued growth where Brunei successfully diversifies its economy away from oil and gas and achieves its Vision 2035 goals using existing measures.

The second and third scenarios used contrasting approaches to answer the question ‘What if Brunei’s economy continues to rely heavily on oil and gas?’

The final scenario considered the systemic impact the Fourth Industrial Revolution would have on the types of jobs and the way people work in Brunei.

There will be further stakeholder forums and a large scale youth survey in future, the CSPS said.