The Ministry of Labour on Friday said it plans to introduce information technological skills in its vocational training initiatives in order to prepare the Kingdom’s workforce in the face of growing automation in the labour market.
During a United Nations meeting on the future of Cambodia’s labour force last week, Labour Minister Ith Samheng cited the International Labour Organisation by saying that 57 percent of Cambodian workers are at risk due to automation.
“In the future, the evolution of technology will create new types of work and will cause the loss of employment for youths if they do not get skill training and improve their abilities in order to meet labour market needs,” Mr Samheng said.
During a press conference on Friday, Pich Sophoan, a secretary of state at the Labour Ministry, said automation is affecting the labour market because it replaces humans with machines.
Mr Sophoan noted that automation has affected the way people book hotels, air tickets and taxi services.
In order to prepare the labour market for this trend, Mr Sophoan said the ministry is developing a plan to incorporate lessons about information technology in its vocational training initiatives.
“It is to focus on the modernisation of the curriculum by incorporating new technologies, strengthening the quality of teachers and conforming to the fourth industrial revolution by focusing on the use of the internet,” Mr Sophoan said.
According to a survey by the World Bank in 2016, 17.6 percent of companies in Cambodia identified an inadequately educated workforce as a major constraint.
It said that only 22.2 percent of companies provided formal training to their employees, well below the average 33.6 percent measured in East Asia and the Pacific.
It noted that a lack of training opportunities for workers also pressed concerns regarding challenges raised by technological changes.
According to the ILO, retail workers and garment factory workers face the highest risk of losing their jobs to automation.
Nob Norin, president of the Association of Skilled Professional Education, yesterday said he acknowledges the role of automation in the future, and that the ministry is attempting to address the issue that comes with it.
“We support the Labour Ministry’s plan and pledge to modernise curriculums and materials so students can keep up with modern technology and join in the development of technical and vocational training,” Mr Norin said.
According to Mr Samheng, the ILO in 2016 said 56 percent of employees in five Asean countries would be at risk due to automation in the next two decades, including 57 percent of workers in Cambodia, 56 percent of workers in Indonesia, 49 percent of workers in the Philippines, 44 percent of workers in Thailand and 70 percent of workers in Vietnam.