Aspiration Gap

March 19, 2007 (LBO) – Lining up for ˜good™ jobs coupled with limited access to quality education and training have upped levels of unemployment among Sri Lanka™s youth, a new World Bank study shows.

The study shows that youth with GCE Ordinary Level and GCE Advanced Level education are the most unemployed, compared to other levels of education.

In 2005, 11.5 percent of youth with O/L education and 13.8 with A/L and higher education out of Sri Lanka™s total labour force, were unemployed.

Youth from affluent families wait for an opportunity to take ˜good™ jobs in civil service and the formal private sector that has good incentives and stability, Milan Vodopivec, World Bank senior social protection economist told reporters.

The civil service wage premium attracts job-seekers to queue, that generates unemployment.

The government™s ad-hoc recruitment schemes also increase unemployment, where graduates will wait for the government to recruit them to civil service positions.

The World Bank says youth with less education hope for higher wages. Students who dropped out before grade nine also anticipated more pay than what the market was willing to pay.