The structure of the Labour market in Mauritius has evolved over time, with the advent of fundamental structural changes in the Mauritian economy over the last 30 years. In fact, the rapid development of the manufacturing sector in the seventies and eighties led to the rapid expansion of relatively low-skilled job creation to meet the need of the fast growing Export Processing Zone (EPZ) sector. However, by the end of the eighties and early nineties, the emergence of new sectors, namely in the field of tourism and financial services required higher skilled manpower. In the wake of the new millennium, the demand for high skilled Labour was further accentuated.
Today, the new sectors are service-oriented and therefore necessitate different input mix, generally more capital intensive than Labour intensive. These new emerging sectors, however, have some potential to absorb Labour, which necessitate skilled human capital.
While on the one hand, the EPZ is crippled by Labour supply shortages, and is compelled to import foreign Labour mainly from China, on the other hand, the number of unfilled skilled-job vacancies, especially in the financial services sector and in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has been increasing since the last 10 years.
It is therefore appropriate to say that the unemployment phenomenon is of a structural nature. It basically means that due to changes in demand and technology, there is a mismatch between available skills and available jobs. Here, it is worth noting that the education system plays a central role in supplying skilled Labour. Although Mauritius is ranked as having a comparatively high literacy rate, it has some weaknesses in its secondary and technical education, especially in the teaching of natural science, engineering and vocational subjects. The education system is rather academic and based on traditional fields of study.
Mauritian Labour market is relatively rigid, in part due to the particularities of its Labour market institutions. In Mauritius, the wage determining institutions are the Tripartite Committee (TC), the National Remuneration Board and the Pay Research Bureau. The Tripartite Committee is responsible for the determination of wages at the national level through consultations involving Government, trade union and representatives of the private sector. These wage agreements of the TC are legally binding on all sectors of the economy.
Last Updated on: 19-04-2010