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PODCAST OF THE WEEK
Jamaica's Talent Gap: Skilled Worker Crisis
In our latest episode of the Flow Jamaica-sponsored Impacting Jamaica podcast, we are tackling a critical challenge at the heart of Jamaica's booming economy: the severe shortage of skilled workers.
Leading the conversation is Butch Hendrickson, head of the National Baking Company, one of Jamaica's largest businesses. Hendrickson highlights the struggle his expanding company faces in filling specialized roles, echoing a sentiment prevalent among private sector leaders. This urgent call for labor policy reform is not new; it's been a recommendation on the table since the International Monetary Fund weighed in over a decade ago.
Adding a layer of complexity to this issue is Jamaica's record-low unemployment rate. As of April 2023, it stands at an unprecedented 4.5 percent, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica. This figure, while positive, underscores a paradox: fewer people are unemployed, yet there's a dire need for specific skills in the market.
Jamaican economist Dennis Chung brings a global perspective to this debate. He advocates for breaking down barriers in the labor market and stresses the importance of looking beyond Jamaica’s borders for talent. Chung links the Caribbean's struggle with labor mobility to broader economic challenges and sheds light on Jamaica's labor productivity trends, which have significant implications for the economy, especially in areas like food imports.
Our podcast, proudly sponsored by the Flow Foundation, features various voices, including Hendrickson, Chung, and trade unionist Kavan Gayle. Guided by the experienced journalist Tameka Gordon, this discussion is a melting pot of business, economic, and labor insights.
SHARING THE LOVE: JIS FEATURE
Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.
Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service