Over 50% of jobless NWDA clients are professionals

| 04/03/2015 | 34 Comments

(CNS): More than half of the Caymanians who are registered with the National Workforce Development Agency as unemployed and seeking jobs are not minimum wage, unqualified or inexperienced workers but people with professional backgrounds. From Architects and bank managers to psychologists and teachers, the unemployment problem is going well-beyond the issue of so-called unemployability.

The information comes from documentation released by the NWDA to a CNS reader following a freedom of information request.

Although job seekers can register with the NWDA under a number of different job titles, of the 436 local people who are listed with the government’s workforce agency who say they do not have a job and are actively seeking one, many have experience in the tourism, financial, medical and IT sectors and many are listed as having experience in very senior and professional jobs. Ex-civil service managers, including even the former prison boss, are also on the list, as well as special needs teachers, nurses, former customs and immigration officers and many other employees who once held public sector posts.

Legal and corporate secretaries, civil engineers, website designers and almost one hundred job seekers have listed themselves as customer service managers, clerks or representatives.

The list adds further evidence to the concerns that the unemployment problem among local workers is not confined to a few hundred individuals who are not qualified or who don’t want the work.

The NWDA has captured only a fraction of the real unemployment figures and from those registered with the government job centre, only 131 are seeking direct support for training, help with resume writing or interview preparation. The remaining 334 clients are registered as independent job-seekers who use the NWDA website to look for work. But all 436 are accessible to the work permit and business staffing plan boards.

According to the latest formal government statistics, the unemployment rate at the end of the last financial year was 6.2% and government bean counters are predicting that the rate will have fallen to 5.9% at the end of June 2015 and the current financial year.

However, the figure is often disputed as the accuracy of government statics is brought into question when a significant number of the unemployed are not registered or documented formally in any way.

Although the NWDA is attempting to widen its net and assist more people, it still excludes many people. Those at the bottom of the socio-economic heap may be excluded because of a number of access barriers, including registration fees and the need for applicants to be able to read and write at a certain standards and be IT literate. In contrast, professionals often find it demeaning to go through the processes of registering with government and are bypassing the NWDA and are approaching employers themselves or working with private recruitment agencies.

With the 21,266 foreign nationals working in Cayman, according to the Immigration department’s year-end statistics for 2014, the critical question as to why so many professional locals can’t find work is not being effectively answered.

With some 1,600 live permits in the construction sector, it is hard to understand how more than 100 job seekers are listed with the NWDA as having experience in that sector but don’t have work.

Report on Clients per CISCO code grouped by Independent and Extended client status -15 Nov 2014

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Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If Government is claiming to be so transparent why can’t existing businesses have access to all of these registered unemployed persons. When I contacted the NWDA and asked for access to the list I was told that I was the one that needed to register my available position and then I would be contacted. If the unemployed can choose who they apply to why can’t the businesses choose who they interview?
    Onesided again Cayman

  2. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians can’t work for those wages such as $3.50 p/h and rightly so. These wages are what was paid some 40years ago. However we are to blame for many of the unemployment ills in the vo-tech and tourism fields as when the financial boom began it was appeasing to want to work in a/c not realizing the importance of those skills. We have employed at one of our largest corporations/business many in the vo-tech field and with overtime can clock a yearly salary of $70K!!! What is disappointing and makes me angry is that in the granting those vo-tech and tourism sector positions we do NOT enforce the law for apprenticeship!! IF we wanted to change the unemployed status; we would do well to educate our children from Junior High that these positions pays well and you cn own your own home and live very comfortably and there’s no shame in being a plumber, electrician, mechanic, waiteress, maitre d; chef or front desk or condo mgr. That’s where we compound the problem…….making our children; many who are naturally inclined to work with their hands as though these positions are below them or not important to the operation of our islands. Try not having your garbage collected for 3 weeks and you’ll see how important the garbage truck (needs mechanic to maintain) or the driver is to our society or to the lab for blood works so you can get ddiagnosed OR going to a restaurant and no waiters or waiteresses OR to a grocery store with no cashiers OR your a/c konking out OR getting a certifcate of occupancy without a carpenter, tiler, mason, plumber, roofer etc!! As long as our children have a trade whereby they can support themselves, be a homeowner and abble to assist their parents in their golden years is how we need approach vo-tech and tourism jobs!! It will do us well to start changing our mindset because in truth only crazy ppl do the same thing over and over and expect a different result…….Get on board for Vo-Tech to be mandatory in the education curriculum and make apprenticeship mandatory to obtain a work permit with a subsidy fr Education Scholarship and the employer so the student earns say perhaps $250 per mth while learning a trade.

    • Anonymous says:

      So let me get this straight. Caymanians can’t work for these wages and therefore NO wages (i.e unemployment) is preferable? To repeat.. can’t work for these wages but somehow CAN be unemployed. That does not make sense.

      To get my foot in the door and gain some experience I would gladly take a low wage then show what I am made of and work up or take my experience after a couple years and use it on my resume to apply for another job with better pay.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yawns, scratches, and rolls over muttering “the myth of unemployment continues”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is easy for the employed to make comments or for people that are not look or need to work. But I say if you are truly unemployed and is actively looking for a job, it is frustrating to the point of depression. The NWDA, Government , private job placement agencies, etc really don’t care. You have to do it yourself. I have sent my resume to all these agencies and not one has even acknowledge receipt or a follow up with a call, just for the record I have experience and degrees that I worked long an hard to achieve, I can truly say I am a victim of “Being over qualified” as I have been told by a couple of companies.

    I asked one question, how can one be over qualified when you are applying for the positions in which you have qualification and experience for? it does not make sense. If you are a CPA and you are applying for a position within that field how can you be over qualified? I have been asked one question by over and over again , that is (ARE YOU CAYMANIAN?) once you confirm yes… with all honesty you are told “we will be in touch” and you never hear back. Should you call back to inquire, you are told the position is filled or should you be selected for an interview we will contact you otherwise you will not be contacted again.

    There is true discrimination out there, but I encourage all Caymanians birth right or paper right, not to be discouraged keep strong and keep applying also a Prayer will not hurt. I will end by saying . What don’t kill you will make you stronger!!!!!. the tables will turn,

    • Driftwood says:

      Start your own company, undercut the ludicrous prices charged by the big shops and if you are any good you will be making a mint in no time and possibly employing Caymanians who find themselves in the same position

    • Anonymous says:

      I call BS..

  5. FaJesus says:

    It could be misleading if it was just a simple “chart” someone drew. However unfortunetely for you the chart was based off of statistics and evidence unlike your statement.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I like the Ezzard-like nunsense logic of the last two paragraphs of the story.

  7. Just Sayin' says:

    Simply being a “professional” does not necessarily make one employable. The majority of those to whom you refer have made themselves unemployable for a myriad of reasons. I wouldn’t touch any of them with Mac’s pole and Alden pushing.

    • Anonymous says:

      To add to this comment just because you have listed yourself as having experience in a particular field does not automatically mean you are qualified in that field. I could have worked the tourism sector for a week and then claim experience. I could claim any number of things to make myself look more attractive on paper, it doesn’t make it true.

  8. Anonymous says:

    There is no unemployment problem.

  9. Rp says:

    Nurses and teachers? Aren’t those govt ministries hiring the most expats? Why isn’t cig hiring these people in public schools and hospitals? What is the reason they choose to hire expats instead? Doesn’t seem to make sense to me. Is it because these people are already employed and statistics outdated, are they not really qualified or is it the gov is not following their own laws? CIG please clarify!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What is required is a sector specific 10/15 year strategic plan to reduce work permits! This means a budget which over 10/15 years will show a reduction in work permit revenue. Any Cabinet members brave enough to draft such a plan?

    • Goldenfry0009@yahoo.com says:

      Reduce work permits? Okay so I guess the lost revenue with have to come from the taxation of Caymanians. Or a reduction in the civil service that employees many Caymanians. Anyway you skin you have just been schooled.

      • Anonymous says:

        Read the Business Journal report. Over the past 15 years Caymanian unemployment went down when work permits went up. Unemployment went up when work permits went down. Expats drive at least half of the Cayman economy. When they are doing better, so are Caymanians, and vice versa.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s rubbish. When the Caymanian unemployment went down was because the unemployed Caymanians left the country as work permits went up which took jobs away from the Caymanians. That chart is misleading the public.

      • Anonymous says:

        “employees many Caymanians”….”Anyway you skin you have”…thanks for schooling us

      • Anonymous says:

        …or taxation of expats – that would help the cash pan too!

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that when you reduce work permits you reduce the population right? So not only are you losing the revenue from work permit fees but now there is an exponential loss from an overall contraction of the economy as a whole. What is your plan for making up that lost revenue? The labour market is not a zero-sum game. Contraction of the economy will reduce the overall number of jobs available both to expats and Caymanians and there will be even more unemployment. Of course, no politician will ever address this because it doesn’t seem intuitive and they will lose votes. It is much easier to spout the same ol’ nonsense and to collect their votes as usual by pandering to the masses. How come no one seems to notice that after 10 years of doing this, nothing has improved? 10 years of rollover and what is there to show for it? The same whining and moaning about Caymanians unemployed. Grow the economy and improve education then let’s talk. The best way to provide jobs to Caymanians is to attract more expats to come live in the Cayman Islands. (But the average voter doesn’t understand how this works).

      • Anonymous says:

        Replacing a work permit with a Caymanian is not ‘contracting the economy’. Its simply changing the employee in a job. If there is one job, with one employee, whether that person is Caymanian or Martian and I replace them with another Caymanian or Martian the economy has not contracted. It has not even changed. (Economic effects have changed but not contracted.)

        Now, what others are arguing is that by replacing the Martian, sending remitances to Mars each month, with a Caymanian, who spends all their money in Cayman, has a preferential economic effect in Cayman. (And a negative economic effect on Mars.) But the economy itself has neither contrated nor expanded.

        Economic contraction/expansion is about the number of jobs, not who holds them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because, obviously, what is being mooted is not ‘get rid of expats and replace tehm with nobody’, i.e., contraction of the economy, its ‘replace expats with locals without changing the number of jobs’. Stop arguing against your straw man. The rest of your post sounds smarter than that.

  11. Uptoyou! says:

    We had a few layoffs a while ago, within a month the qualified Caymanians and foreginers who worked hard and were willing had jobs. The ones who just turned up still do not. Coincidence?

  12. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what the age ranges of these people are. I heard of a 70 year old ex professional who registered with NWDA but it’s hard to imagine an employer wanting to take that person on even though some would claim it’s ageism not to.

  13. Sharkey says:

    Please C I government stop the political BS about caymanians is not qualified and ready . Start protecting the people who elected you to work for them . I think that the unemployed caymanians are seeing what you politicians are all about and who you are representing . Thanks to Cayman News Services for bringing this to the public.

    • Anonymous says:

      Teachers Architects Bank Managers unemployed??? HOw is this possible when all these positions are being held by work permit holders? Look at the private schools to start with???

      • Anonymous says:

        As an employer would you hire someone who has a bad attitude over a hard workers? How about someone with no work ethics? would you check up and see why he/she was fired from the last job? Most good employers do. People usually don’t get hired for a good reason Caymanian and expats alike. Just let employers decide who they want to hire and who they don’t. If no one wants to hire you then stop crying about it and fix your problem.

        • Anonymous says:

          While I agree with you in principle will you agree in principle that, all other things being equal, jobs should go to Caymanians preferentially?

          If we can all agree that ‘good emplloyee’ Caymanians should get first dibs on local jobs then we can all move on to the cruxes
          1) identifying ‘bad’ employers
          2) identifying ‘bad’ employees
          and fixing both.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The “trickle down” jobs from the work permits, that the Premier forecast will soon materialize. Just before elections; but will only actually happen if he and his entire team are once again elected to office.

    I look forward to read the comments by those who will still try to stereotype these individuals that are QUALIFIED and WILLING to work, and are employable.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Does the 6.24 unemployment rate include WP holders (who should have a 0% rate), thus minimising the Caymanian unemployment rate.

    The clearest factor should be the number of Caymanians working in the private sector by industry.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of BS those seeking jobs and cant find one are blind. Their is so much opportunity in Cayman its like the land of milk and honey.
    Perhaps they just don’t want to do what’s available.
    Why worry abut them they must really be lazy.

  17. Anonymous says:

    We could use Special Needs Teachers for sure. There are not enough in the schools and I’m quite upset to know that we have a Special Needs teacher unemployed especially after seeing how one expat teacher treated a special needs student.

  18. FaJesus says:

    There will be more professionals without jobs as well. Caledonian will be no longer what we know of it. RBC wealth management has pulled out. (HSBC) Scotia retail branch closing. I figure we can add another 80 “professionals” to this list.

    What is clear is the Banking industry is in major contraction and consolidation on the island. Outside pressure from regulators and increased bank license fees has crippled the sector. When government increased work permit fees and bank fees it was akin to kicking the sector when it was down. The loss of many positions within the fund administration business years ago took with it many good paying jobs.

    One thing I do know is simply trying to replace work permit holders with status holders will only exasperate this situation. If the government can try and attracted back these businesses we all may have a chance. But I am sure they will want their pound of flesh first.

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