One cannot ignore the link between labour and capital as labour force serves as a vehicle for the growth of a nation’s economy.
Labour which is more broadly considered as a working class is the backbone of a country and helps to foster the growth rampantly.
But how could it be possible?
Well! Labour represents the human factor in producing the goods and services of an economy. Talking about Pakistan, then it is the sixth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 212.48m which means it shares the 9th largest labour and manpower resources in the world, though, if utilised efficiently can turn the fate of the country’s economy.
Here, employment is the key factor to mull over.
Employment is considered as a key mechanism through which the benefits of the growth can be distributed to the poor segment of the society. Cognizant with such a growth rate, a large number of young labour force is added every year.
Pakistan’s labour force profile already categorises a large number of workers as vulnerable and ironically, it is experiencing the phenomenon of unemployed educated people, particularly jobless graduates.
Considering the population composition then it is skewed towards working age population indicating the population falling in the age group of 15-64 years is 61.4 percent, while 12.1 percent of the population is between the ages of 0-4 years and 22.1 percent is between 5-14 years. If this demographic dividend is harnessed and skills are imparted to youth then startlingly it would increase industrial productivity at home and higher remittances from abroad.
Which industry can be a game changer?
Pakistan’s real estate market remains the backbone of its economy, with as many as 50 different industries relying on it. This sector is also the second-largest employer within the country, with the first being agriculture.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the total number of Pakistan’s labour force is 57.2 million, 43% of this labour is involved in agriculture, 20.3% in industry and the remaining 36.6% in other services.
Although formally, on average, the construction sector has contributed between 2.3% and 2.85% in the last five fiscal years to Pakistan’s GDP (it was valued at Rs 316 billion in the Pakistan Economic Survey 2019-20), most economists estimate its value to stand between 10 and 12% of the total GDP. This is because it provides stimulus to over 42 ancillary sectors and therefore, has a far-reaching impact on the overall economy as it employs eight percent of the total labour force.
As per the World Bank report, the size of a country’s real estate assets constitutes between 60 and 70pc of the country’s total wealth hence, the Government of Pakistan needs to boost this sector, which the incumbent government is doing impressively because this sector carries an ample room to drive the economy by creating significant employment opportunities for the people.
How can the Rights of the Labour force be protected?
Though labour conditions in Pakistan are not ideal and there is dire need for urgent measures to comply with international labour standards. Therefore, for the workers and employers to work with a peaceful and enabling environment, the Government of Pakistan has drafted Labour Policy 2010 which aims to protect the rights of workers and promote employment generation. This policy is divided into four parts i.e.
- Legal framework
- Advocacy: Rights of workers and employers
- Skill Development and Employment
- Manpower Export
Likewise, the constitution of Pakistan also encapsulates the points highlighting the labours laws which also aims to protect the rights of labours actively. Following are the key articles in this respect: Article 11, Article 17, Article 18, Article 25 and Article 37 (e).
However, the benefits associated with these laws are still not available to workers in the informal sector even today.
What should the government do?
Undoubtedly Pakistan’s working population is a significant contributor to the country’s economy and with such a large workforce, labour welfare is a very important matter to consider.
Therefore, an indigenous egalitarian model should be in place to foster economic development that can resolve the problem of unemployment and tackle accumulating issues in public welfare.
The quantity and quality of labour that individuals supply is an important factor in determining the economy’s level of production and rate of growth.
A demand-led employment strategy for the medium- to long-term recovery of jobs and incomes is needed, including provision of employment, particularly to the youth, develop and utilise capabilities of the younger generation, supporting employment creation in strategic sectors, restoring a conducive business environment, reinvigorating productivity growth, diversifying the economy and ensure the protection of labour rights to create an enabling environment for them to prosper.
Because to respect and celebrate the labour force of our country, its essence needs to realise and acknowledge which is directly related with the generation of sustainable employment opportunities and the respect of their efforts by enhancing the wages as per the laws and conscience.