Skilled labour shortage in Laos
Laos is facing a shortage of skilled workers and needs to bring in foreign labour to supply the market.
The government estimated 500,000 labourers will be needed by 2015 as the country looks to strong economic growth. But the country could supply only about 55,000 workers a year, according to the Labour and Social Welfare Ministry.
Liber Libouapao, director general of the National Economic Research Institute, told the Vientiane Times, the shortage was serious in skilled areas.
Laos tried to solve the problem by offering more scholarships for students to study in state-run vocational schools which are less popular than other disciplines such as banking and finance, the newspaper added.
Demand for skilled labourers grows as foreign firms plan to relocate their factories to Laos due to low labour wages. They are required to give privileges to Lao workers for job opportunities. Lao nationals must make up 70% of the workforce in a firm, according to the country's labour law.
Laos' new monthly wage, which took effect in January 2012, is 626,000 kip (2,360 baht). It was almost doubled from the old rate of 348,000 kip. Still, it is cheaper than Thailand where the minimum monthly wage is 9,000 baht.
Higher minimum wages in Thailand have already lured unskilled workers from Laos to work in Thailand.
The World Bank projects annual economic growth for Laos at 7.6% from this year to 2015.