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The Human Resource Requirement Plan for Ethiopia’s Manufacturing Industries (2016-2025) showed that the medium and large manufacturing sectors will seek an extra 758,000 people.
That will increase the number of jobs offered by the sector to 1,033,322.
The manufacturing industry, which currently employs 275,135 people in positions ranging from management to production, is expected to account for 18 percent of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP).
Employment in the food and beverage industry is expected to jump from 61,052 to 426,702, while textile manufacturing is expected to employ 250,709 people creating 191,690 new jobs.
According to a draft of the projection, which was compiled by Adama Science and Technology University, the leather industry will have the potential to hire 74,533 new workers, increasing its workforce to 98,556. The promising metal engineering field will increase its job openings from the current 33,000 to 99,277.
Job openings in the nascent pharmaceuticals industry sector will jump to 20,350 from the current 3,365.
In order to fill these new positions, Technical and Vocational Education and Training centers are expected to provide 800,000 graduates, while higher education institutions are expected to provide 123,000 graduates.
Though the manufacturing sector has registered an average 20 percent growth, earning foreign exchange exceeding two billion birr, it is plagued with problems.
Lack of skilled manpower in the areas of maintenance, supervision and leadership, limited technology transfer and use of indigenous technology, underutilization of machinery, poor awareness and implementation of national standards, and limited involvement of industries to support education and training institutions are some of the pervasive issues.
Mebrahtu Melese (PhD), State Minister of Industry, has urged all stakeholders to strive to meet the impending demands of the sector.
“Efficient and effective human capital is crucial to achieving the necessary results. As such, we are working closely with the Ministry of Education to help with curriculum and teaching methodology revisions,” Mebrahtu said. “However, the government needs to know that education alone will not suffice. Companies need to invest in training their employees in order to increase productivity.’’
Mebrahtu stressed that the government will intensify its focus on strengthening Technical and Vocational Schools, which are the backbone of the manufacturing industry.
Some economists have argued that the Ethiopian manufacturing industry is suffering from a lack of skilled manpower. They suggested that the mismatch between the supply and demand of skilled labor available in the market is a critical factor that deserves due consideration by the government.