Labor Market study

Principal Investigator

• Dr. Abu S. Shonchoy
• Dr. Selim Raihan
• Dr. Tomoki Fujii

Project Area

District: Gaibandha

Project Background


Project Description

Bangladesh has been a success story in promoting employment for its growing population. Taking advantage of their abundance of relatively low-skilled labor, Bangladesh engaged in world markets through light manufacturing, which created wage employment in large numbers, providing opportunities for rural migrants. The expansion of the light manufacturing sector has allowed for the integration of young women to the labor market. Agricultural modernization, labor migration, and social policies have altered the jobs landscape of Bangladesh, but these changes have not generated a major formalization and the share of formal jobs has not increased much over the past decade.
Concerns have also emerged with respect to increasing skills and productivity and ways to move up in the manufacturing ladder. Considering the above issues, the project was decided to implement unanimously as partners association with Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK), South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), Singapore Management University (SMU), Growth and Labor Markets in Low Income Countries Program (GLM | LIC) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

 The present project emphasizes the transforming role of non-farm employment to meet these challenges in Bangladesh. The principal objective of this proposed project is to explain the labor market dynamics and the associated growth and poverty-reduction linkages in Bangladesh.
The project will explore the growth and types of non-farm activities and their productivity, and households’ labor market participation behavior in farming vis-à-vis non farming activities and how it is influenced by different factors. Through this analysis, the project intends to contribute to policy making process in formulating strategies so that the rural non-farm can be used to support the structural transformation of the economy. The project will also focus on gender-based labor market outcomes, such as women’s participation in non-farm sectors and the structural and policy factors that tend to discriminate against their participation. The project will look at informing the makers of the forthcoming

Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020) and raising awareness on the aforementioned key labor issues for Bangladesh with the help of a strong and wider dissemination of the research findings. To influence the policymaking process further, SANEM proposes to form a National Reference Committee (NRC) on growth, labor and poverty including policymakers, academics, and journalists. NRC will comprises three policymakers from the National Planning Commission, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, and other relevant ministries, two senior academicians/technical experts who are not involved in the project, and two other representatives (from media/NGOs/civil society groups/etc). Finally, the project will contribute to the technical capacity development of the relevant stakeholders in terms of better understanding of the conceptual issues and making use of information and research findings.