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FULL STORY: 21% job-shy

Ricky Jordan

FULL STORY: 21% job-shy

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NEARLY A QUARTER of Barbados’ adult population does not want to work.
That’s the finding of a survey funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and conducted by the University of the West Indies’ Sir Arthur Lewis Institute.
The survey, called the  Country Assessment Of Living Conditions (CALC), was presented to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart at his Cabinet Office yesterday.
Close to 7 000 were people were surveyed and “the data demonstrated that of the voluntarily unemployed, 21 per cent did not want to work and eight per cent were discouraged with the labour market”.
A whopping 38 per cent of the youth who were voluntarily unemployed simply “did not want to work”, with some of their reasons being unattractive wages, unsuitable employment, and a preference for freedom and leisure. 
“Potential entrants are disinclined to enter employment as the wages are not attractive enough or they consider the type of work available to be ‘below them’.
“This issue of high reservation wages may also be linked to certification where, for those certified in some way, they expect a certain level of remuneration.
In addition, if available employment opportunities are below the level of certification of the individual, they may be disinclined to enter employment,” stated the report, based on research between 2009 and 2010.
It noted that those surveyed suggested a preference for freedom from stress and a desire to spend more time with families.
The 113-page report, funded by CDB to the tune of half-million dollars and subtitled Human Development Challenges In A Global Crisis: Addressing Growth And Social Inclusion, also showed that household and individual poverty in Barbados had almost doubled in the last 17 years, with 15 per cent of households and 19.3 per cent of individuals living below the poverty line.
These figures were compared with 8.7 per cent for households and 13.9 per cent for individuals when the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) conducted a study on Barbados in 1996.
The CALC did a stratified random sample of 2 425 households and 6 973 individuals, 5 618 of whom were over 15 years old, and showed the poverty line at $7 861.
 It also revealed that the main characteristics of those living in poverty in Barbados were unemployment, underemployment, high household dependency, and social and familial exclusion.
“From an in-depth examination of these characteristics and their underlying causes, five main issues arose: a lack of desire to work, a lack of qualifications/skills, a lack of opportunities in the labour market, and a disproportionate burden of care, and stigma and discrimination,” it added, noting that the stigma.
The report made recommendations to Government, including greater investment to promote growth in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors;  law reform with respect to discrimination, sexual harassment and domestic violence; and greater access to housing, health care and education.