Changing Labour Markets in Bangladesh: The Dynamics Between Growth and Inclusion in a Low-Income Economy
With its growing economy and population, Bangladesh's job creation success has primarily taken place in the garment and textiles industry. This research project will examine the challenges ahead to improve the quality and productivity of these jobs. Bangladesh offers relatively low-skilled labour, a factor that has propelled its engagement in world markets, creating large numbers of paid jobs and opportunities for rural migrants, especially women. Agricultural modernization, labour migration, and social policies have also altered the nature of Bangladeshi labour markets. However, none of these changes has formalized labour markets in a significant way. The share of formal jobs has not increased much over the past decade, and women are yet to be fully included in labour markets. As the country's model moves away from low-skilled job creation, there are new concerns about increasing skills and finding ways to move up the manufacturing ladder in the region. This project will provide evidence to inform national policy-making. Researchers will analyze labour market dynamics between the farm and non-farm sectors in Bangladesh's rural-to-urban transformation. They will use multiple methods to examine changes in labour markets, test different growth scenarios, and assess training programs for rural workers. The researchers will form a reference group of policymakers, academics, and journalists to raise awareness about key labour issues. This group will also provide input into the Bangladesh's new national development plan (2016-20). The project team will share research findings through the media, academic publications, web, and video. The project will also help develop technical skills through on-the-job mentoring for young researchers and short training workshops on labour issues for government and non-government stakeholders. The South Asian Network on Economic Modeling in Dhaka will implement the research project over three years. The network will draw researchers and practitioners from the University of Dhaka, BRAC Development Institute, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Japan's Institute of Developing Economies, and a local NGO, Gana Unnayan Kendra.