Rabain: job numbers require close scrutiny
A “noticeable upswing” in employment opportunities touted by the Bermuda Government warrants more careful scrutiny, the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Diallo Rabain told the House of Assembly.
During Wednesday’s Budget debate, Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin plugged growth in job opportunities, “particularly in the hospitality industry”.
“This is largely influenced by new hotel construction and the anticipated human resource needs of the America’s Cup,” she said.
The Department, she said, had been approached by employers as a “viable resource to support recruitment of Bermudians”.
As an example, she pointed to work being undertaken to “assess, pre-screen, and refer” suitable candidates to fill 77 vacancies at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club ahead of the peak season.
Progressive Labour Party MP Mr Rabain, however, said a closer examination of the numbers was needed.
“We’re doing good stuff, but it doesn’t seem to be translating over here,” Mr Rabain said.
Stating that there is nothing but the “utmost respect” for the people working in the Department, Mr Rabain focused attention on examining the jobs numbers — and who was filling created and current positions.
Citing recent annually reported numbers from the Bermuda Job Market Employment Briefs, Mr Rabain noted the rising percentage of waiter positions being occupied by non-Bermudians.
According to Mr Rabain, in 2016, 59 per cent of waiter positions were filled by non-Bermudians, up from 57 per cent in 2015, and 54 per cent in 2014.
“Why is their percentage of the workforce increasing?” he said.
“These are the trends that people see.
“It’s very important that we put our people in a position to take advantage of these opportunities,” he said of jobs created by projects such as the airport redevelopment, and events like the America’s Cup.
Mr Rabain likewise pointed to the reduction in the reported number of construction jobs from 2012 to 2015.
“Permits for construction jobs — for masons, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, tillers, drywallers — totalled over that same period 844,” he said.
“Theses permit workers are working somewhere,” Mr Rabain said. “And if they are, we need to find out why Bermudians are not getting those jobs.”
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