CESD is partnering with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to support the much-needed labour market reform process in Myanmar.
A team of CESD researchers is collecting and analyzing labour market data in Myanmar to support legislative and regulatory reform aimed at sustainable employment growth.
A lack of labour data in Myanmar has made it difficult to formulate labour market policies, including the establishment of a minimum wage and minimum social welfare payments. Data from Myanmar’s previous Labour Force Survey (undertaken in 1990) is generally considered to be unreliable, and data from the 2015 Labour Force Survey is yet to be made available.
Labour market data to be collected and analysed by researchers at CESD will focus on employment, underemployment and labour mobility, notably in the garment making and agri-business (fisheries) industries. These two industries face a number of labour market challenges, including upwards wage pressures, labour and skills shortages, high levels of staff turnover, industrial unrest, and high levels of labour movement across states and regions in Myanmar, and across international borders. These challenges are compounded by a national legislative framework that is “inactive”, under review or under development. The absence of reliable labour market data also limits the ability of government agencies, civil society organisations, employees and employers to address labour issues effectively.
To identify and address labour market issues, CESD is partnering with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) on a three year program of work aimed at labour market reform in Myanmar.
Initially, CESD will undertake face to face surveys with representatives of employer organisations in the garment manufacturing and the agri-food processing (fisheries) industry to build an understanding of the current constraints on the labour market, including skills gaps, labour shortages, training needs, impediments to higher productivity levels, factors impacting on employee wage levels, and general production costs.
Subsequent employee surveys, desk-based research and analysis of the 2015 Labour Force Survey data will lead to the production of policy papers on the determinants of earnings, the nature of labour mobility, issues related to skills development, and perceptions of social security policy and implementation.
CESD’s survey work will be undertaken in Mon State, an administrative area east of Yangon, with a long coastline, farmlands, mountain ranges and a small shared border with Thailand. Mon State is relatively prosperous despite a long history of armed conflict, with high levels of emigration to Thailand. CESD has strong relationships with private and public sector organisations in Mon State from previous research work, including extensive research and analysis of economic, political and administrative decentralisation.
CESD’s experience in undertaking research, facilitating multi-stakeholder discussions, and developing policy advice for the government provide the foundation for this three-year program of work.
The publication of CESD’s survey results and policy papers, together with CESD’s established relationships with key stakeholders, will support evidence-based policy discussion among representatives from the government, and employer and employee groups. It will contribute to the development of an equitable, reasonable and feasible legislative and regulatory framework for Myanmar’s labour market, businesses and investors, thereby supporting ongoing social and economic growth and prosperity in Myanmar.
Publications and key findings
View publications and key findings produced as part of the labour reform program, or produced as background material, here
Survey results from CESD’s labour market survey were published in August 2016.
- Supporting Yangon University of Economics faculty and staff as the graduating students undertake research on the impacts of the minimum wage, 21 July 2016
- Meeting with U Ko Ko Linn, Deputy Director, Department of Labour, Yangon Region government, to discuss current challenges for implementing labour laws, June 2016.
- Release of a short documentary on the establishment of a minimum wage in Myanmar, 3 June 2016
- Roundtable Discussion by CESD and IDRC to share different perspectives on the minimum wage, 26 February 2016
- Presentation of enterprise survey preliminary findings to Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MoLES), 27 January 2016
- Presentation of possible next steps for Myanmar’s minimum wage, in Cambodia, November 2015
- Participation in, and mediation and facilitation of various workshops for the establishment of a minimum wage; held in Yangon in June 2015
- Video series on “The future of factory Asia“, supported by JustJobs Network and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC); 22 June 2015
- Launch of the CESD and IDRC “Reforming the labour market in Myanmar” project, 28 March 2015
- Release of report on migration knowledge, attitudes and practices, 28 February 2015
- Survey on existing salaries and wages, and workers’ daily expenses, as input to the establishment of a minimum wage, 20 February 2015