Conference on "Labour Market: Reforms, Challenges and Perspectives" was held (VIDEO)
The conference on "Labour Market: Reforms, Challenges and Perspectives" was held jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population and the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication. Minister of labour and social protection of population of the Republic of Azerbaijan Salim Muslumov, chairman of the committee on labour and social policy of Milli Majlis Hadi Rajabli, executive director of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication Vusal Gasimli, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan ("AmCham") Nuran Karimov, rector of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Urkhan Alakbarov, Rector of Azerbaijan State Oil and Industry University Mustafa Babanli, director of the State Vocational Education Agency Famil Mustafayev, Director of the Institute of Economy of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Nazim Imanov, chief Specialist of the International Organization for Migration Office in Vienna Michael Newson, and representatives of various government agencies attended the event. Opening the conference, S.Muslumov brought to the attention important macroeconomic achievements of our country gained as a result of successful socio-economic policy of President of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev, at the same time, emphasized that there are development trends in the labour market: "Reforms aimed at the development of the labor market in the conditions of sustainable economic development in Azerbaijan have created conditions for increasing the rating of our country in this area". Talking about the processes in the labour market in the past period, the minister stated that the challenges emerging in the field of employment in this context, as well as the challenge of bringing the able-bodied population into the labour market's requirements is topical: "According to labour legislation of Azerbaijan, the employment contract can be concluded with individuals who have reached the age of 15". High share of youth in the population structure increased the specific weight of the working age population S.Muslumov noted that the labour market is formed under the influence of the factors determining the demand and supply of workforce. Touching upon the factors determining the supply of workforce, the minister stressed that Azerbaijan is a stable country from demographic point of view. "In 2006-2016 average annual growth rate in Azerbaijan was about 1.3%. This is one of the highest indicators among European countries. In this period, the population of our country increased by 14.7% and reached 9.8 million, as of January 1, 2017. (As of November 1, 2017, the country's population reached 9,883,300 people). 50.1 percent of the population is women". Stressing that the Azerbaijani population is younger in terms of age structure and that the average age is 32.3 years, S. Muslumov noted that this figure is higher than among men. The advantage of women in the field of health and education, the advantage of men in construction and mining shows itself in the gender division of the employed population The minister noted that the number of employed people in 2005-2016 increased by 17.2%. This indicator has increased rapidly in the construction, tourists' placement, public catering, information and communication, finance and insurance activities, and the relative decline has been observed in mining, electricity, gas and steam production, distribution and supply, and health and social services. The advantage of women (75.1 percent and 71.4 percent, respectively) in the field of health and education, the advantage of men (88.8 percent and 83.5 percent, respectively)in construction and mining shows itself in the gender division of the employed population. The unemployment rate in the country has steadily declined by 5 percent in 2016. S. Muslumov noted that the high share of women and youth among the unemployed is one of the main problems in the labour market. The minister noted that the economic development of Azerbaijan is observed by the increase of the foreign workforce in the country year by year. One of the main tasks of the state migration policy is to protect the domestic labour market from untrained external workforce and maximize the potential of the local workforce. For this purpose, labor migration quota has been applied in the country since 2010. Modern trends in vocational education in the country's economy put forward new demands S. Muslumov brought to the attention that one of the main issues determining the quality of labour resources is related to the level of education and specialization: "37.5 percent of hired workers, including 36.5 percent of male employees and 38.6 percent of female workers registered in the Electronic Information System on Notification of Labour Contract have higher education. Modern trends in the country's economy put forward new challenges for vocational training and highlight the challenge of competing competitive demand for skilled cadres in the labour market. "Strategic Road Map for the development of vocational education and training in the Republic of Azerbaijan", which was approved by the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan Mr.Ilham Aliyev dated December 6, 2016, is also aimed at developing a vocational education system that trains qualified personnel in accordance with the labor market requirements in the country. The average annual real growth of over 3 percent of GDP and, in addition, more than 450 new jobs is expected to create until 2025 S.Muslumov said that GDP per capita in Azerbaijan was $ 3926 and Azerbaijan is in the middle-income group of the world. As a result of measures taken in recent years to develop the non-oil sector, the specific weight of agriculture, processing industry and tourism in GDP has increased. In the past years, the model of employment policy in Azerbaijan has been identified by the characteristics of the transition period and the demographic situation. The main purpose of this was operative meeting of high offer level of workforce. On this basis, 1, 9 million new jobs have been created in the country in 2003-2017. The minister noted that, when comparing the actual entry into the labor market with the age limit of 18 years, taking into account factors of completion of the period of secondary education and then the need for some time later, in 2017-2025, the total number of children at the age of 18, i.e. the total number of children born in 1999-2007 (Excluding children under 1 year old who died), is 1 127,2 thousand, and the average annual number is 125,2 thousand. In this regard, Muslumov said that the application of adequate employment model is of particular importance in accordance with the targeted strategies for individual development stages in the upcoming years. Employment policy models in world practice The minister gave information about the 4 main employment policy models in the world practice- the European model, characterized by a decline in the number of employed people in the conditions of increasing labor productivity, the Scandinavian (Sweden) model, envisaging provision of employment through the creation of jobs in the public sector in line with the average wage rate, the American model that aims to create fertile and paid jobs for a substantial part of the economically active population, and the Japanese model. S.Muslumov brought to the attention that during systematic analysis it becomes clear in Azerbaijan, mainly the version of the American model combined with the Swedish model is applied. At the conference, noted that the new challenges associated with the changes in the labor market require continuous improvement of the policy in this area and implementation of the vocational training, and the current conference is of great importance for the discussion of these issues. Speaking about the importance of the self-employment program, the chairman of the committee said that this program enabled low-income families to move from poverty to small family businesses through the realization of their employment potential. V. Gasimli said that the Strategic Roadmap on perspectives of the national economy at the same time also aimed at stimulating growth trends in the labour market, brought to the attention the innovative development of the economy has led to a change in the workforce demand in the labour market on the professional skills in this direction. He also pointed out the importance of a labour-intensive model in employment. The conference continued with panel discussions on "Labour Market and economic development challenges" and "Human Capital: Economic Reforms and Development Perspectives" moderated by U.Alakbarov. Presentations on different topics were made and discussions were held at the meetings. At the end of the conference, S.Muslumov emphasized that very topical issues were discussed at this event, and the analysis based on scientific and practical approaches would contribute to the implementation of more effective and targeted reforms in line with current labour market challenges.