Improving Labour Productivity

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Articles

Productivity, putting it simply, is a measure of how efficiently and effectively resources are utilized for production of goods and provision of services. Technically it is the ratio of outputs to inputs. Labour productivity is the output per person (physical/value units) over a period of time. Improving skills and attitudes of workers so that they can produce more goods or provide better service (of required quality with less waste of material and energy) in the time allocated, is one of the principal  ways of improving labour productivity.
Productivity improvement is crucial to a country’s competitiveness and integration into the global economy. Particularly for developing countries like Myanmar, productivity improvement is essential at this juncture for the local industries as they are facing competition from foreign investors as well as imports from foreign countries.
Long term international statistical trends show that there is a strong co-relation between National productivity and the level of employment. Experts say that the more productive an economy, the more competitive it is in the global markets and the lower is the unemployment rate.  At the same time the more productive enterprise, the more income it can generate and save for new investments with creation of new jobs.
In the ASEAN context, statistics published by some researchers indicate that Myanmar’s labour productivity is still lowcompared to several other member countries. Hence it needs to be improved for Myanmar Industriesto be competitive when ASEAN Economic Community emerges in 2015.
Improving productivity may call for extensive measures such as better management of the supply chain, introducing higher levels of technology, better product or process design etc. However, to improve productivity of labour, enhancing the skills of the workforce at all levels is imperative. To this end, enterprises/employers will have to exert greater efforts tomore systematically train their workers, either ‘on-the-job’ or ‘off-the-job’ or by sending them to local and foreign training courses that effectively impart skills and knowledge of their occupations.
The ‘Employment and Skills Development Law’ enacted by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in 2013 is a step towards developing the occupational skills of the workforce through systematic training by employers.
The law requires enterprises/employers to train their workers in accordance with theirspecific needs, either ‘on-the-job’ or ‘off-the-job’ or both according to their capacity. It also introduces Occupational Competency Standards (for the more common occupations) against which the workers and apprentices may be trained so that they may be certified as skilled workers. Employers may set up training centres individually or in groups to train their workers. They may also set up accredited Testing Centres to test and certify the skills of the workers so that there is recognition of their skills no matter how they acquired them; either by training or  experience on-the-job or both. Enhancing skills and abilities of the workers through systematic training and certification of skills based on Occupational Standards will eventually build up a workforce which will contribute to enhancing labour productivity in
Myanmar.

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