High-Skilled Labour Key to Develop Economy

A forum on human resources in Cambodia has highlighted the need to prioritize developing high-skilled labor to grow the economy
A forum on human resources in Cambodia. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A forum on human resources in Cambodia. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Developing high-skilled labor to push Cambodia’s economy was highlighted as a priority at EuroCham’s inaugural Human Resources Forum.

The full-day event, held at Raffles Hotel le Royal on February 3, saw leading stakeholders, businesses and authorities gather to discuss some of Cambodia’s changing dynamics in the human resources sector.

The forum focused on four major topics: social protection development, legal and practical updates, the skills gap, and staff retention.

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, Ith Samheng, was one of the speakers. He delivered the opening remarks, talking about how the government has prioritized improving resources in its Rectangular Strategy.

“Developing human resources is the key to organizational development. In this regard, the government of Cambodia prioritizes human resources as a key agenda for every stakeholder involved in Cambodia’s development. It is one of the first priorities for the Rectangular Strategy,” he said.

He added that human capital forms the foundation of the country’s development in the short-, medium-, and long-term. Improving human resources can result in the development of better jobs, while promoting the dignity of the people, and developing capacity and skills, he said.

“Our country, we have a lot of labor in terms of labor force, but we still lack high-skilled labor to fulfill the needs of employers. In this regard, the Ministry sees the importance of skills development,” the Minister said.

He added that developing the labor force and improving the methods for labor disputes will help the country’s overall economy develop. This potentially leads to an increase in foreign investment while strengthening the value of Cambodian-made products, as an increasing amount of consumers seek products that are produced in a sustainable and safe way.

Sok Bora, Director of the Benefits Department at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), addressed the importance of companies adhering to the requirement to register for NSSF’s three schemes: the employment injury, healthcare, and pension schemes. The pension scheme is the latest to be rolled out, implemented in July 2022.

Pheakdey Sambo, Deputy Secretary General of the General Secretariat for the National Social Protection Council, said it is key that IT systems are improved to streamline operations and ensure further adoption of the NSSF schemes.

“We need to move away from paper-based processes and make it digitalised. IT systems should be synchronized and connected in some way, so that there is better communication and more effective implementation,” he said.

Legal and practical updates regarding labor disputes were also discussed, as well as measures that can be taken to help close the skills gap.

Sambath Heng, Project Coordinator for the Skill Development Fund (SDF), said SDF is working hard to address skills mismatches in the Kingdom in line with Cambodia’s vision to become a high middle-income country.

“We want to move from an economy dependent on agriculture to a higher-skilled economy. The skills mismatch issue is hurting our goal of becoming a high middle-income country by 2030,” she said, adding that SDF has implemented 95 projects in priority sectors, including manufacturing, construction, ICT, electronics and tourism.

EuroCham Chairman, Tassilo Brinzer, said, “We all know how important human resources is to the growth of the economy and wider society, and we’re all working together to further strengthen this key theme in our development agenda.”