In the first nine months of 2023 (January-September), more than 12,000 people have left Fiji for employment reasons, while more than 2,400 have emigrated.
This excludes residents going on student visas, which has picked up significantly.
Revealing this statistics, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad said Fiji is currently experiencing a wave of skill shortage and skills gap in key areas such as construction, nursing and specialist fields like telecommunication engineers, and aviation safety regulators among others, which is critical for economic growth and nation building.
He said to counter the skill shortage, the Ministry of Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development & Statistics through the Strategic Planning Office has started a Training and Skill Needs Analysis Survey 2023, aimed to identify priority areas of training and skill needs for human capital planning and development in Fiji.
Prof Prasad said in 2022, 16,967 people left Fiji for employment reasons while 5,335 have emigrated.
“Fiji has also been calling for visa-free travel between Australia as well as New Zealand and Pacific Island States as part of efforts to ease the travel process further.”
“This Training and Skills Needs Analysis is not just a mechanism of collecting data, it is a strategic tool to empower us all to understand the current landscapes of skills and training needs of our country”.
“By participating in the survey, employers, ministries, CSO’s and Universities will contribute towards comprehensive understanding of the skills that are in demand, the gaps that needs to be addressed and opportunities that lie ahead for the Nation.”
He added that the “insights gathered from the survey will guide the government’s policies and initiatives, ensuring that the education, trainings and other related projects are aligned to the needs of the sector.”
The findings from the survey will shape the Fiji’s 5-Year National Human Resource Plan and also the new National Development Plan.
Shiri Gounder, Permanent Secretary for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development & Statistics said that, “through a collaborative approach, the Ministry encourages both private and public sector to participate in the Training and Skill Needs Analysis Survey 2023”.
He assured that shared experience, needs and feedback matter in enabling government to develop and implement relevant and sustainable policies to develop the Fiji’s workforce.
“Together, we can bridge the skills gap between the education and the industry by equipping the labour force with required skills for the labour market”.