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Seekers Outnumber Jobs Six to One, Group Says

Cambodia has at most 60,000 jobs and at least five times that number looking for work, creating widespread worry, a group said Thursday.

"Currently, my parents very often remind me to look for jobs," a marketing student named Bora told VOA Khmer. "I also try my best, but still I fail. I am very worried."

Between 300,000 and 350,000 job seekers are competing for 50,000 to 60,000 jobs, according to the Cambodian Youth Council.

"Everyday our youth are extremely worried about lack of employment when they finish both high school and college, because the job market in Cambodia is too small," said Mak Sarath, president of the Youth Council. "And if they want to find jobs in companies or other organizations, these workplaces require two to three years' experience, and they do not have that."

The problem is not just related to the size of the job market, but a lack of qualified individuals that graduate, he said.

"Nowadays, a lot of colleges are mushrooming, especially in Phnom Penh, [and] students usually complain about the quality, which cannot meet the job requirements," Mak Sarath said. "College education should not be bachelor's or master's degree oriented, but to the job market. That means that [students] should learn to be employed, not to get a degree. So, the government, especially the Ministry of Education, should find the relationship between education and the market."

Li Somony, undersecretary for the Ministry of Education, said that not every school had low performance.

"It makes sense that the quality is low when there are too many schools," he said, "but [the quality] of some state-run schools and some others is not low."