Following the publication of reports on labour market reform by the Centre for Economic and Social, CESD is continuing to present opportunities for dialogue exchange within the sector. On Friday the 16thof November, a seminar on Labour Market Reforms was held at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) in Yangon.

The seminar was jointly organized with the support of UMFCCI and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada, with the intention of creating opportunities for Myanmar to learn from the lessons and insights drawn from global developments – both from neighbouring countries and beyond. The seminar responded to both the challenges opportunities that Myanmar is facing within the sector, discussing the process of labour market reform and its potential outcomes for the nation. The timely seminar facilitated the participation of key stakeholders from Union and Regional Governments, the private sector, development partners, labour unions and other civil society organisations. Notable guests included U Zaw Aye Maung, the Labour Affairs Minister for the Yangon Regional Government Office, Professor Gordon Betcherman from the School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa, and Ms. Sabina Dewan, President and Executive Director of the JustJobs Network.




The Seminar was officially opened by U Hnin Oo, Chairman of the UMFCCI Arbitration Committee, expressing the UMFCCI’s willingness to participate in labour reform issues in order to maintain and build upon the advances that Myanamr has achieved.

Professor Betcherman went on to explain the importance both hard (infrastructure) and soft (regulation, tax, human capital) factors on timing and productivity, paying particular attention to human capital and noting that “human capital has been a key success of the other South East Asian economies. Emphasis on continual training has been repeatedly identified in research as having a positive effect on productivity, innovation, research and development, and probability of firms. These sentiments  were further echoed by Sabina Dewan,  who spoke about the need to implement policies that will result in successful job matching by equipping workers with the skills that are in demand.

The closing remarks were given by U Zaw Aye Maung, the Yangon Regional Minister for Labour Affairs who extended his gratitude to all participants and acknowledged that the development of the labour market and skills capacity was an instrumental policy.

The research work undertaken by the CESD compliments the views and opinions of the speakers – that by strengthening the business case for increased investment in Myanmar’s workforce, it would empower them across different labour-intensive industries in light future industrial innovations.