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The Employee selection system in the textile and apparel sector needs to be revised as it has not been effective. This was stated at the second high level forum for phase III of the policy dialogue on industry development that was held at the Sheraton Addis on November 7, 2017.
While commenting, Fitsum Arega, Commissioner of Ethiopian Investment Commission stated that a failed recruiting system has been observed in the Bole Lemi and Hawassa Industrial Parks and it has been an “expensive” lesson for the sector.
“In general in the textile and apparel sector what we are observing is low productivity, high number of absenteeism and high turnover which might be related to low incentives and salaries. It looks like a vicious circle, unless productivity improves, firms cannot provide incentives; unless they get better profit, they cannot reward,” the commissioner said.
He further pointed out that that companies who have done well in attracting the right employees and gave importance to recruiting processes and criteria as well as those that provided better incentives were able to retain their workers and get better performance.
“The selection in Bole Lemi was very careless; even in Hawasa we made a mistake. So many people were recruited; they were recruited in May and June and by September and October more than 40 percent turnover was seen. Our screening system was not identifying students who were looking for a temporary job, for example,” he said.
According to him, when asked the problem, some of the employees that left their position at the factories stated that the salary they were getting paid was not adequate; they couldn’t afford housing, transport and food was too expensive.
“So most of them prefer to go pick coffee during the coffee picking season in the Hawassa area, work in construction in Addis Ababa or venture into doing some work in the tourism sector. So we have now learned a lesson; an expensive one,” the Commissioner said.
The conference overall focused on productivity, and productivity enhancing measures that have been adopted in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, labor productivity in Vietnam as well as productivity determinants in the textile and garment industries, among others.