People change jobs to survive pandemic

In the face of mounting pandemic pressure, a large number of private sector workers and small traders have now started changing their occupations to survive amid the Covid-19 crisis as most of them have become unemployed due to either loss of jobs or closing down of their businesses.

The grim reality of the coronavirus disease has virtually pushed the hard-pressed job losers to look for engaging themselves in new professions to breathe life because the chance of returning to the village is meagre. Many came to Dhaka leaving their families in the village. If they go back to villages, this is likely to further make the rural labor market unstable.

In an investigation, the Bangladesh Post correspondent found that working people in the informal sector are the worst sufferers amid corona virus. In addition, small traders have lost capital in this hard time that left millions of private sector workers jobless.

According to various research institutes, 6 crore 82 lakh people were employed in the country. Of them, 36 million people have lost jobs due to Corona virus. These people lost their jobs in the lockdown announced by the government (from March 26 to May 31). The number of unemployed people so far is 1.4 million, according to statistics.

In addition, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said in its latest report that a second outbreak of the coronavirus disease could cause 34 crore people to lose their jobs worldwide. Bangladesh is also on the list.

Tanvir Ahmed worked as a teacher of a kinder garden school at Dhanmondi. Even 4 months ago, he used to serve as a house tutor at Dhaka, with a sound salary. When the salary stopped and his kinder garden school shut downed for corona virus, he changed his profession and entered into agriculture at his village.

When contacted, his sister received and told that “Tanvir used to live with his family in Katalbagan. Family was fully depended on his salary. But due to corona virus, his workplace remained closed for 3 months. Salary and allowance were not given. As a result, he moved to the village with family. He has now changed the occupation and is working in agriculture.”

Shutters of small shops in many areas, including Mogbazar, Mirpur, Lalbagh, Azimpur, Kamrangirchar, Mohammadpur, and old Dhaka, have been closed.

These shopkeepers are leaving their businesses and switching to other professions due to financial losses. In many markets, including Gulistan, Paltan, New Market and Gauchia, signboards for renting shops are commonly visiable.

While talking, a shop owner of New Market said, “I have hung the notice to sell the shop as it is no longer possible to sit like this. Leaving the business, he is now thinking of a different profession.”

According to the current budget of new Fiscal Year, it said that a large number of people have lost their jobs due to the recent outbreak of coronavirus, general holidays across the country, closure of factories and complete stagnation of trade and commerce.

According to preliminary data from the ADB (Asian Development Bank), the number of unemployed people could be 1.4 million. It further said that the government has so far announced the largest incentive package of Taka 1.3 lakh crore to effectively address the economic impact of coronavirus.

According to a survey of Asian Development Bank (ADB) titled “Covid-19 Impact on Job Postings: Real-Time Assessment Using Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Online Job Portals,” in April 2020, total job postings in the largest online job searching sites declined by 87pc in Bangladesh and 70pc in Sri Lanka compared to the same month in 2019.

Bangladesh’s data was taken from, and Sri Lanka’s from, two of the leading online job portals in the two countries in terms of number of job postings.

The number of job postings dropped sharply from the third week of March, just after a week of the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed and nationwide lockdown was implemented, said the report.

As compared to December 2019, the number of new job postings was approximately the same in January 2020, and 10pc–17pc fewer during February, and the first and second weeks of March.