Set up in 2019, the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) carries the role of ensuring effective human resources planning and corresponding workability addressing the issue of unemployment in the county. For this, the MPEC has rolled out several initiatives, including compiling information on the projected manpower needs for the next five years. The initiatives also include types and bulk of employment as well as the required duration to plan sectoral manpower supply according to industrial needs.
The MPEC through JobCentre Brunei (JCB) has also carried out proactive job matching through recruitment fairs, institution outreach and ‘Mukim Connect’ sessions to ensure that local job seekers register with JCB for job opportunities and training sessions. As a one-stop career centre, JCB provides support and services for job seekers and employers especially in the private sector. Their services include job matching; engagement sessions with job seekers and employers including outreach programmes; training or skill up sessions to help job seekers increase their employability; free of charge rental for facilities including interview room, auditorium, multipurpose hall and collaborative space; and clearance letter application for employers to hire foreign workers for job positions lacking local manpower supply.
JCB has also introduced new initiatives to enhance its services and increase accessibility to a portal such as an express registration service; a Telegram channel where job seekers can subscribe for news and updates; virtual sessions for job seekers and employers; and digital subscription for job seekers to be notified via e-mail for recommended jobs that match their background and skills.
Another initiative that has been carried out is collaboration with lifelong learning providers and government agencies. The Lifelong Learning Centre (L3C) under the Ministry of Education (MoE) actively plans, develops and implements programmes in collaboration with lifelong learning providers and government agencies. L3C serves as a one-stop centre for lifelong learning programmes comprising four pillars – workforce development, academic upgrading, community development and personal development.
Based on the Labour Force Survey Report 2021, a total of 212,400 were employed in 2021, an increase of 0.6 per cent compared to the previous year. Locals accounted for 71 per cent of the total labour force, while the remaining 29 per cent were non-locals. The unemployment rate in 2021 was at 4.9 per cent, a decrease from 7.3 per cent in 2020 especially among the local population.
Among contributing factors in the decrease of the unemployment rate was that local job seekers have filled jobs in several industrial sectors that were previously dominated by foreign workers such as industrial and construction, transportation and storage, IT, service activities and others. Population outside the labour force has also increased, especially for those who have furthered their studies, undergone training courses and have family or household responsibilities, or have retired.
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