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Abroad drift mania stews public, corporate and private sectors

Bhutan has been witnessing trend of working age group leaving for greener pasture at tier of professions causing public, corporate and private sectors to feel the void

By Tenzin Lhaden

As the momentum of Bhutanese leaving abroad accelerates with augmenting passport applicants and more aspiring to leave abroad. Since the easing of Covid-19 pandemic protocols, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued more than 27,000 passports including travel documents which are within the span of about six months.
These Bhutanese are mostly contributing age group in the economy or actively serving and others, students who would fall under the working age group in a few years.
As a result of many Bhutanese giving up their occupations, in already sluggish global economy, this drift could augment slow recovery of the countryโ€™s economy. Every sector in the country has lost human resources, seeking for green pastures abroad.
A private Information Technology(IT) Company lost a specialized skilled employee. The Chief Executive Officer of the company expressed his apprehension at the rate that the country is losing its skilled workforce to the developed country. โ€œIn the wake of countryโ€™s digitizing, we need more IT experts and we stand to lose one of the most capable and specialized employee in the drift of moving abroad, finding substitution is truly quest for needle in the haystackโ€, said Damber Bdr Gurung, CEO of the organization.
He further said that in absence of such expertise, the company is incapacitated to bid specialized government tenders and has adversely affected companyโ€™s income.
โ€œThe corporation lost eight gifted staff this year and it was a truly colossal loses as they were in the key positions of the corporateโ€, said Phuntsho, General Manager, Bhutan Telecom Limited. He also added that losing these staff particularly, technicians and engineers is great loss for the corporation since, finding replacement at par is near to impossible considering their years of experience and up-skilled.
Kuensel, a newspaper company lost three experienced and trained reporter this year to the drift. โ€œIt is sad that we lost trained staff however, we have replaced them with new graduates but now, we have to train and guide them all over againโ€, said Ugyen Penjor, CEO, Kuensel. Likewise, Business Bhutan a private newspaper had their editor joining the horde.
Bhutan Power Cooperation saw one of the largest numbers of resignation, sixty five staff resigned this year. โ€œMany staff resigned from the corporation this year but I am not sure if they are planning to go abroadโ€, said Sonam Tobgay, CEO, Bhutan Power Corporation. However, sources claim that the staff resigned were planning to go abroad.
These stories are not confined to the private and corporate sectors but even the public sector shares similar story.
โ€œThis year, five teachers left their school. Three resigned and two are on extraordinary leave. Among them, two are intending to go abroad,โ€ said Pelden Wangmo, District Educational Officer (DEO) of Zhemgang dzongkhag. She further added that teachers leaving their jobs affect students and their learning process thereby weakening the system itself.
While, 21 instructors left their professions to travel abroad in Samtse Dzongkhag. โ€œThis truly impedes the studentsโ€™ growing experiences as the classes need to be combined and limited teachers cannot focus on every single studentโ€, said Kinzang Wangchuk, District Education Officer (DEO), Samtse Dzongkhag.
Similarly, Ministry of Health had more than 46 health officials resigning this year creating staff shortages in various health departments.
According to one of the foreign education consultancy firms, the majority of their clients are in the age group of 20 to 35 years and come from both the government (particularly teachers) and private sectors (particularly travel agents).
โ€œIt is a matter of time that country would see the impact of this working group leaving the country in the already sluggish and pandemic hit economyโ€, said an independent economist.

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