March 6, 2020 – Two teams of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to discuss how different policy measures can encourage women’s formal employment and improve youth job matching in Zambia.
The event attracted more than 60 attendees, including representatives of the Ministries of Youth, of Higher Education, of Gender, and of Youth, Sport and Child Development. Representatives of national NGOs, trade unions, research and academic institutions, and many media institutions also attended.
The first team presented findings and recommendations from their PEP study of “Work-study” and educational mismatch among youths, selected under the PAGE II initiative in 2018. See PEP Policy Brief 207for findings and policy implications.
The researchers explained that students with experience of working while studying are more likely to be match for their jobs but it can interfere with schooling. In particular, when work is not in a field related to the student’s area of study, it can be counterproductive.
The Director at the Ministry of Youth stated her agreement with these findings and that action should be taken to address the detrimental effect of working in areas unrelated to a person’s area of study.
The team recommended that measures to encourage the “right type” and “right amount” of work while studying be implemented to promote future job matching. They suggested that guidance mechanisms (such as career counselling, pre-placement training, and conditional financial support) should be provided as work-based learning programs are rolled out.
The representative for the Ministry of Higher Education congratulated the team for their timely work and said that the findings will feed into the Ministry’s ongoing development of the national work-based learning programs.
The second team’s presentation discussed the findings and recommendations from their PEP study into whether a wage subsidy can be used to improve women’s formal employment, also selected under the PAGE II initiative in 2018. See PEP Policy Brief 212for findings and policy implications.
The researchers explained that a wage subsidy to reduce the labour costs of employing women in a formal-sector job can increase labour supply and household incomes. The team highlighted that implementing such a subsidy in female-intensive sectors would likely increase the success of the program.
Feedback from policy analysts attending the event suggested that measures to encourage women’s formal-sector employment could be implemented as a fund, rather than a subsidy, to be more appealing.
The representative of the Ministry of Higher Education, who opened the event with the keynote speech, underlined the importance of the role of women in the country’s economy.
Held two days before International Women’s Day, the conference generated significant media interest. More than 20 journalists attended, including representatives of the Times of Zambia, a national dailynewspaper, who reported from the event.
The research team organized the event with financial and advisory support from PEP. The conference was co-hosted by the Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Department of Economics, University of Zambia, at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia.