Even just a decade ago, educated and meritorious youth were eager to join private sector jobs in industries and business firms. Now they are leaning more towards government service. In fact, even a section of those who have qualified as engineers and physicians, are showing a preference for government jobs. They feel that along with job security, government service also offers social status and influence.

Earlier private sector jobs were more attractive to the youth because of higher salaries and allowances. With salaries and allowances in public service being doubled in 2015, that gap has reduced. Also, no matter how high the post may be, our youth have a proclivity towards office work rather than work in factories.

Speaking at the seminar, an entrepreneur regretted that, "In India, a youth passes with a degree in IIT and dreams of becoming the CEO of Google. But the target of our youth graduating from BUET is BCS."

Then again, the element of uncertainty in private sector jobs in industries and business firms is also a disincentive for the young people. Many companies appoint employees on a contractual basis and then do not renew the contract at the end of the term. Some banks set such a high target for an employee to bring in capital, that even the most skilled employee struggles to meet that figure. And many merchandise marketing companies add such conditions when making appointments that are hardly dignified for a qualified youth.

If the corporate sector wants to attract meritorious youth, they too need to change their mindset. Skills and qualifications should be the only consideration in appointments and promotions. In many countries the corporate offices offer work experience to students still in university. This practice must be extensively taken up here too.

Planning minister MA Mannan said there is need for more universities in the country to create skilled and qualified workers. But the government needs to look into why these universities are failing to appoint skilled and qualified persons. This is not just a loss to individuals, but to the nation as a whole.

Bangladeshi students studying abroad are getting good jobs there too. Our private sector companies, when recruiting persons from abroad, can give consideration to our qualified and skilled youth living in foreign countries. Just as the standard of education must be improved to create a qualified and skilled workforce in the country, their facilities and benefits in the private sector must be stepped up too, along with job security.

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