PHNOM PENH - With graduating students and other youth facing the prospect of increased unemployment, the National Employment Agency, established in 2009, has much work to do.
Down its halls a visitor can find many youths, discussing among themselves their prospects and the problem of joblessness.
Officials at the agency and economists say the NEA provides a necessary service in a sometimes chaotic employment environment, where too many people are competing for too few jobs.
The agency has disseminated some 80,000 job opportunities since 2010, but has only placed about 3,000 people. Officials at the government office say not enough people take advantage of the free service.
The agency is a one-stop shop for companies looking for workers, and Hong Choeun, head of the agency, said the office also provides free consultations for prospective workers, “to make sure they have enough confidence before job interviews.”
The agency, which has centers in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot, Battambang, Takeo and Svay Rieng, is necessary to help Cambodians find jobs, said Kong Chandararoth, president of the Cambodian Institute of Development Study.
“Sometimes we have enough people with qualified skills to work, but those people just don’t know where they can find jobs,” he said.
Chat Pheak, 22, from Takeo province, was at the agency recently. He told VOA Khmer he’s been studying banking and finance and had come to the agency for help finding a job. “I want to get myself consulted by experts at NEA, because its services are free,” he said.
Chea Srey, a third-year student from Kandal province, said he believed that putting his resume in at the agency could improve his chances of finding a job.
“If I go directly to find a job, the chances I’ll be selected to work are narrow,” he said. “But I have opportunities if I leave my CV at the National Employment Agency.”
Jobseekers can register their names online and update their resumes to the agency’s database. They can also submit the information on paper.
Labor experts say Cambodia needs to add about 300,000 jobs each year to keep up with the growing workforce. However, it has only been able to add between 20,000 to 30,000 jobs each year. Still, the government estimates about 7.7 million people are employed in one way or another.
The National Employment Agency is connected to around 500 state institutions and private enterprises.
Em Seiha, head of human resources for Angkor Micro Finance Cambodia, said he uses the agency to recruit workers.
“It is quite easy to recruit people whom the NEA introduces,” he said. “People drop their CVs there, so my company doesn’t need to spend more time searching for people. We just look at those CVs and select people who are qualified.”
One of those qualified workers was Sam Chhan Many. She’s been working as an accountant for a company called Nature Only for the last seven months, thanks to the agency.
“I just left my CV there, and a few days later, I got a call that there was a company wanting work,” she said. “It was easy.”