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Jamaica News - Real Estate - Economy (March 6, 2005)
The red hot jobs
The supply is still way below demand in a fairly low-key job market, but there are some job positions that recruiters have been advertising heavily, as private companies particularly reposition for open trade.

In a labour market where approximately 140,000 persons are hunting employment, only 21,572 jobs came onto the market in a 20-month span up to the end of December, an average of 1,079 jobs per month.

Of significance, is an indication that firms have been boosting their management core, company managers and directors were in heaviest demand, topping the list of advertised vacancies.

"These vacancies were found primarily in private sector companies such as banks, hotels, tour companies, fast food restaurant, retail and factory outlets and mobile telephone dealers," said the Labour Market Information System, in its latest analysis of the job market.

"In the case of directors and human resource managers, the likely options existed in selected government entities."

The vacancy count is done quarterly and analysed by the LMIS, a division of the Ministry of Labour, which hosts an online Electronic Labour Exchange that links jobseekers to recruiters.

Though company managers only accounted for just under 12 per cent of the total, the 2,519 advertised vacancies ran significantly ahead of the educator category's 2,135 available jobs.

Marketing and sales representatives were third in the red hot category with 1,843 positions.

In the last review quarter, October to December 2004, the market generated 5,639 new jobs, which maintained the red hot rankings of directors/managers, educators and sales reps, respectively.

Teachers remain in high demand both by overseas recruiters and by local schools who often have to replenish staff who take up jobs abroad.

"The number of vacancies in this field usually peaks between July to September each year, but throughout the year the demand for secondary level teachers usually remain consistently high," said the agency.

Further analysis indicates that teachers of Mathematics and English were in greatest demand - some 27 per cent of requested teachers - followed by those teaching Spanish, Physics and Information Technology.

In the overall analysis of vacancies, the numbers change slightly when the figures are assessed by employment categories, and it also shifts the rankings slightly.

The management category - broadened to management support and supervisory personnel - still dominated but there were 3,087 positions filled in the 20-month period.

Marketing/sales/ distribution takes second place in the employment category, with 2,610 jobs, to take a slight lead over education and training's 2,567.

"Management careers are at the top of the occupational ladder, demanding post-secondary education," said the LMIS.

"Persons vying for those occupations usually enter the market with diplomas, degrees and even post-graduate qualifications."

They also tend to have at least five years experience, particularly senior managers.

In fact, Sunday Finance's assessment of the LMIS figures indicate that, on strict numbers count, more jobs are emerging for qualified professionals/senior officials in the market than any other occupational grouping.

But it is also the category in which the majority of work permits are granted.

These jobs often go to overseas manpower "where suitable qualified manpower is not available from the local workforce," said the labour exchange. As such the issue of work permits 'becomes a proxy' for the measure of unavailable expertise.

Over the 2004 calendar year, some 3,863 such permits were issued, approximately 40 per cent of which were renewals.

The professional grouping represented 3,017 or 78 per cent of all work permits granted.

Up to the end of March 2004, advertised professional vacancies numbered 5,916; nine months later, at the end of December, the figure was 10,115.

Managers accounted for 30.5 per cent of the grouping.

Additionally, the category eclipses by more than 100 per cent, its closest rival in numbers, that is, service workers and shop assistants who represented 4,759 of advertised vacancies.

In the marketing category, "a significant percentage of these vacancies emerged for persons engaged in the sale of pharmaceutical and medical products," said LMIS

The labour market analysis does not attempt to map trends, but is instead a snapshot of the job market and an indicator of where jobs are likely to open up.

Note that in the final review quarter, October to December, most jobs opened up for service workers (1,521) followed by professionals (1,469) and clerks (1,120).

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