Sri Lanka job seekers prefer govt, not private sector: minister

EconomyNext – While Sri Lanka’s private sector faces worker shortages most job seekers prefer the comfort of lower paying government employment, a government minister has said, describing how he’s inundated with applications.

"I get hundreds of CVs but hardly anyone wants to join the private sector," declared Eran Wickramaratne, Deputy Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion.

"Everyone wants to join the government. Maybe it’s because of hidden benefits including leisure periods," he added referring to heavy overstaffing in government institutions that leave many without work and rules that make it difficult to fire lazy workers.

He said incentive structures have to be changed to make the public sector more efficient.

Wickramaratne said the government wants to invest in the public sector to raise standards so that it could better support private sector growth.

His new government granted a hefty pay hike to state workers in its first budget last month.

The country’s two biggest advantages are its location on a major trade route and its human resource base, he told a legal forum.

"In a small country like ours, its our HR base we should be investing in. The private sector cannot grow unless the public sector grows qualitatively. They should be speaking the same language and be on the same wavelength."

He said there were "hard decisions" to be taken to better remunerate the public sector because of the need to attract the "best brains, the smartest people to the public sector."





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