Sri Lanka’s youth working population, aged between 15 and 24 years old, is 18.4% of the total while unemployment for that group is 19%, much higher than the general unemployment rate of the country, according to Ravi Peiris, Director General of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC).
Speaking at the recently held “Young Voices from Sri Lanka” forum, which was jointly organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Devlopment and the local office of the International Labour Organisation, Mr. Peiris also revealed that, based on a recent survey conducted by his organisation, 91% of the respondents indicated that labour laws in Sri Lanka were a constraint on employment generation and, as a result, this view was a “formidable challenge and a threat to all young people who knock on the doors of employment”.
Further, said Mr. Peiris, the EFC’s survey also noted that “there was too much emphasis on qualifications and less attention on soft skills. Our youth today live in an age of ‘qualification acquisition’. Sometimes, acquiring these qualifications tend to give them wrong expectations in relation to employment. Technical knowledge and know-how is only one aspect of the requirements of a job profile. There are some important aspects such as adaptability, communication skills, right attitudes which are equally or, in certain circumstances, far more important in employment”.