Joe Issa Calls for Unemployed to Buck Up, More Opportunities for Women, Retraining If Necessary

As unemployment continues to be the bane of Jamaican society including crime and violence, Executive Chairman of Cool Corporation, Joe Issa, calls on the unemployed to get a move on and retrain if necessary, while calling for more employment opportunities for women.

In suggesting that unemployed people leave their traditional comfort zone if it no longer helps their cause, Issa says, “Many people are looking for jobs that just aren’t there; they are looking for work they are used to doing or those they like, and I support that once they can find the jobs of their choice.”

“But if they constantly try and can’t find the work they want, then there comes a point at which they must consider if they should try something new like looking for a different type of job or perhaps retrain in an area that will increase their competitiveness,” says Issa, who is a mentor at the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship — Caribbean based in Montego Bay, St. James.

Issa adds, “It is helpful if they can look at the statistics and tick off the areas where most people are employed, and then make a short list prioritising the areas as alternatives to their current area of preference. They can also look at the unemployment figures to see which areas to avoid.”

“Otherwise,” he says “they could sit with someone in the ministry of labour and see where it leads to,” stating that “both approaches are worth the try, rather than not trying anything at all.”

Overall unemployment figures issued by Statin showed that 173,000 men and women were unemployed at July 2015 compared with 179,300 at July 2014, a reduction of 6,300 or 3.5 per cent.

Male unemployment fell by 3,300 or 4.7 per cent from 70,400 in 2014 to 67,100 in 2015; and for female, unemployment fell by 3,000 or 2.7 per cent from 108,900 to 105,900.

Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship Jamaica

Issa’s call for greater attention to unemployed women is supported by the data which show that while both male and female shed unemployment numbers it was female who fared worse in relative terms. Accounting for 60.7 per cent at July 2014, female unemployment increased to 61.2 per cent at July 2015, compared with male which fell from 39.3 per cent at July 2014 to 38.8 per cent at July 2015.

When considering taking jobs you are unaccustomed to doing or retraining in areas outside your experience, the data provide clues on what to avoid. Based on the industry in which the unemployed last worked, the data showed that at July 2015, 43,500 men and women were service workers and shop and market sales workers, while the second largest group of 41,700 had no occupations.

The two large groups of unemployed men and women are followed by some 29,900 who were in elementary occupations, 19,000 were craft and related trades workers and 16,000 were clerks. The remaining groups ranged from 11,900 professionals, senior officials and technicians, to 1,300 whose last occupation is not specified.

The areas of work in which there were reduced unemployment from July 2014 to July 2015, are: Professionals, Senior Officials and Technicians which fell by 3,800; Clerks fell by 3,900; Skilled Agricultural and Fishery Workers fell by 400; Elementary Occupations fell by 4,400; and Unspecified Occupations fell by 1,400.

The losers, in terms of increased unemployment are: Craft and Related Trades Workers which increased by 900; Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers was up by 500; and Service Workers and Shop and Market Sales Workers, an increase of 6,400.