Construction, manufacturing sectors main drivers of job creation

Employees working at C&H Garments factory in the Special Economic Zone in Gasabo District. More investments like this are critical for sustaining the country’s ambition of creating 200,000 jobs every year. Sam Ngendahimana.

If you are looking for a job in Rwanda, perhaps you should consider offering services in the areas of construction and manufacturing among other sectors you have been considering.

That’s because construction and manufacturing are among areas where most jobs have been created in the last two years, along with other sectors such as accommodation and food production as well as transport and storage.

A new labour force survey published by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) indicates that more jobs were created in those areas in the last two years.

Looking at the number of new jobs created between 2017 and 2018, the survey indicated that some economic activities have seen an increase in employed people while others have seen a decrease.

Among the economic activities that show an increase in the number of employed people, construction has the highest increase with 52, 171 workers,  followed by manufacturing with 42,409 workers, accommodation and food service activities with 25,871 people.

Other economic activities with a relatively high increase in jobs between 2017 and 2018 include transportation and storage, which generated 19,149 new jobs, mining and quarrying with 14,709 new jobs, as well as administrative and support service activities which generated 14,250 new jobs.

Overall, 206,190 new jobs were created between 2017 and 2018, including 166,058 non-farm jobs while the rest were farm jobs.

But some sectors didn’t create any new jobs and in fact did lose some jobs; namely agriculture, forestry and fishing, as well as electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply.

Jobs were also lost in the sectors of human health, water supply, sewerage and waste management, education, as well as arts and entertainment.

The survey’s findings about the areas where new jobs are being created have triggered some interests among different researchers, with many of them now urging job seekers to pay more attention on areas that are increasingly becoming major sources of employment.

Michel Mukeshimana, a lecturer at the University of Rwanda who specialises in development studies, told The New Times on that it’s time to focus more on the services sector.

Workers at a construction site in Kigali. Construction is one of the key drivers of jobs. Sam Ngendahimana.

“Normally, job opportunities are confined in three main areas, namely agriculture, industry and services. In Rwanda, for the past years, jobs used to be created in agriculture related areas, but today we notice a shift of job opportunities trend in the domain of services,” he said.

Mukeshimana said that the new jobs trend means that, to cope with the situation, policy makers should re-define or reshape the development and teaching of new academic programmes related to services.

He also said that young Rwandan graduates, in addition to their different qualifications, should start short courses in things like mining, tourism, and transport among other areas in order to try and land a job.

Herman Musahara, an Associate Professor at the School of Economics of the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics, said the findings about jobs contained in NISR’s labour force surveys should serve as a catalyst for people to dig further and find out where jobs are indeed to be found.

“With the growth of the Rwandan economy there will be more openings as promised in major documents like the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1). But an effort to close the gap between jobs available and those needed is important. Part of the mismatch is also related to where people look for jobs. Maybe growth of secondary cities being promoted can convince many that jobs outside Kigali are also jobs,” he said in an interview.

The recent labour force survey indicated that unemployment rate among Rwandans stands at 15.1 per cent, which means that for every seven people in the country’s labour force there is one person who is unemployed.