The ready-made garments (RMG) and corresponding textile industry have been the biggest employment generator in Bangladesh. Of the 6.08 crore total workforce of the country, RMG and textile industry is said to generate almost 45 lakh employment together. Till now no comprehensive study is made to know the exact amount of employment in the sector. BGMEA was providing the figures which are only based on the initial information given by their members which has differences with the reality. However, according to a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), there are 3,596 active RMG factories in Bangladesh with 35 lakh workers, of which 60.8% are female and 39.2% are male.
The number of workers is not increasing
As Textile Today has been following the industry, it is understood that for last about 5 years employment in the sector was not increasing significantly. It seems the entry and exit rate of workers are almost same in the sector. Though by this time export has increased significantly but the employment generation didn’t increase at the same rate.
Only a few years ago, employment generation from RMG sector was 45 lakh. According to the World Bank, the rate of job creation has slowed down day by day due to the weaker economic growth, infrastructure gap, predominance of informality in labor markets and slow structural reforms.
Industry insiders mentioned the progress in technology and the increase of know-how and productivity in the garment industry for the reduction of employment in the sector. Today workers are using new generation machinery and per capita, production and value addition has increased in the textile and apparel industry. The same trend is likely to continue in the coming days. Segments like sweater production have seen a major change in recent times in reducing the number of workers.
Industry insiders mentioned the progress in technology and the increase of know-how and productivity in the garment industry for the reduction of employment in the sector.
The textile and apparel industry today is also facing competition with other sectors in attracting workers. With the increase in economic activities in the country, people now ask higher rates and so many people are not much interested to work in textile and RMG industry.
The industry has seen a great influx of textile and apparel educated graduate
Bangladesh has seen significant growth in textile education in Bangladesh recently. A huge number of university graduates studying in textile and RMG related subjects are coming out from the education system. As there were availability companies now are hiring a good number of such graduates in the positions where previously they were hiring normal graduates. This is bringing a qualitative change in the textile and apparel industry.
Now a good number of engineers, designers, and management graduates are joining not only in textile and apparel production-related jobs they are widely in marketing, merchandising, IE, product development and in many others sections.
Foreign experts hiring rate was high
However, according to many industry insiders, the foreign employee-hiring rate is increasing day by day in the RMG sector. Records from different ministries show that around 450,000 foreign nationals, mostly from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and some European and African countries are currently working in Bangladesh, mostly in textile and RMG sector. Of them, India has taken 10 billion dollars in 2017 from Bangladesh and it becomes fourth largest remittance source for India. India remitted $ 8.320 billion in 2016 from Bangladesh, which was $4.5 billion in 2014.
Bangladesh textile and apparel industry is in a crying need for skilled professionals as the industry lacks skilled mid-level management. As a result, every year we see foreign employees take billions of dollars of hard-earned currency.
Women employment trends
Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice President of BGMEA & Managing Director of Giant Group said that around 34% of total working people in Bangladesh are women. Interestingly most of the employee is women in RMG sector that have increased women’s contribution in Bangladesh entire economic system. Women are not only working in worker or helper level positions, but they are now also moving towards supervisor level to the top-level positions.
However, female workers participation in RMG sector is decreasing due to the automation of manufacturing said a survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). According to the most recent survey, in 2015, the female to male workers’ participation ratio was 64:36, but it has now declined to 60.8: 39.2.
Also Read: Is automation a threat for apparel industry workers?
On the other hand, according to a very recent joint study by the government’s a2i project and International Labour Organization (ILO) female and male, both workers are at risk for automation. The study said, some 27 lakh or 60 percent jobs of RMG sector are till 2041 for the advent of automation in industries and services sector.
Initiative to enhance skilled manpower
Last fiscal year we expanded almost 30% of our payment of foreign currency for hiring foreign professionals. Mirza Azam MP, State Minister for Textiles and Jute, said to the Textile Today, “It does not make sense that we will hire efficient manpower from India or Sri Lanka and spend our earned money for them.”
In this regard, public and private both sector are working to create efficient manpower. Textile Today Training, an initiative to enhance textile and apparel professionals’ skills, is playing a great role in the development of the people.
Tareq Amin, Founder, and CEO, Textile Today, said, “Bangladesh textile and apparel industry is in a crying need for skilled professionals as the industry lacks skilled mid-level management. As a result, every year we see foreign employees take billions of dollars of hard-earned currency.”
To mitigate this dire condition Textile Today Training (TTT) has taken the initiative to transform the professionals into efficient human capital through different comprehensive training programs. Textile Today has been working as a platform to integrate resources to train the professionals in the industry and also to people who want to join the sector.
Textile Today has joined hands with factories like Northern Tosrifa Group and providing a certificate, yellow, green and black belts in key technical skills areas. TTT is also providing training in Soft Skills Development and also creating professionals for managing sustainability in the industry.
On the other hand, BGMEA started Capacity Development Program for Mid-level Managers of the RMG Industries. BUTEX jointly with SEIP project has introduced a center called Executive Development Center (EDC) to produce mid-level managers for the sector.