A new report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Papua New Guinea’s labour market has found that skill shortages are a major hindernace to employment growth.

The 32-page report “Fulfilling the land of opportunity: How to grow employment in Papua New Guinea” is based on a joint survey of over 230 businesses in Port Moresby, Madang, Mt Hagan and Lae in late 2017.

Covering five employment sectors from management and hospitality to clerical and administrative occupations, the Report identified key factors preventing firms from hiring more staff, what skills businesses determine are most in need, practical impacts of the skills shortages and how Papua New Guinea can help grow employment.

Roy Trivedy, UNDP Resident Representative said the report aims to provide a useful information base for policy makers, academics, businesses, training providers and other interested parties to identify ways to grow employment across the country.

“Our research show the employment market is currently constrained with 60% of firms not expecting their headcount to increase over the next 12 months, so this is a real incentive to explore new initiatives to create jobs,” he added.

Lyndel Melrose, Partner, Consulting Services, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said the research highlights some of the barriers and recommendations to support the growth of employment in PNG.

“It’s clear from our Report that we need to upskill more people, with 83% of firms indicating local skill shortages as a barrier to growing employment. For the wholesale, hospitality and retail sectors – skills shortages are the number one factor affecting recruitment,” Ms Melrose said.

In addition to skills shortages, 71% of businesses said human factors were a barrier to hiring more staff, including staff productivity, attendance and punctuality.