Research Paper Youth Employment and NGOs: Evidence from Bangladesh

Murata, Akira  ,  Nishimura, Naoki

(Working Paper ;124) 2016-03-01
Youth unemployment remains significant labor market and social challenges in many emerging and developing countries. Among others, high rates of unemployment among educated youth are one of growing global issues. This is the case for educated youth in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the increase of NGOs has played a decisive role not only in reducing poverty and improving social indicators like education and health, but in building a platform for young people to develop careers. Despite the increasing job opportunities, the NGO sector experiences high turnover rates and increasing difficulty in attracting qualified youth. This study uses interviews with university students and young NGO staff in Bangladesh to analyze the determinants of youth job preferences and job satisfaction. Empirical analyses reveal that job satisfaction is positively correlated with wages, gender, employment status, work location, and NGO size with statistical significance. Using a discrete choice experiment (DCE), we also gauge youth job preferences and examine the extent to which each job attribute influences job choice, as well as how adjusting these attributes could improve job attractiveness in the NGO sector. We find that the provisions of support for education and upgrading qualifications, and support for health insurance can increase the job uptake rates by more than 30 percentage points and more than 20 percentage points, respectively. We also find that providing housing benefits is not an effective fringe benefit. Particularly, this benefit is provided by small-sized NGOs. Requiring less overtime work increases retention rates by 10 percentage points for female employees, whereas it raises the rates by 4 percentage points for males. Our results suggest that, given that many NGOs are confronted by hard budget constraints, they can reduce high turnover rates by efficiently allocating their limited budget for staff welfare. This better understanding of the needs and desires of their employees can help Bangladeshi NGOs recruit and retain qualified young people.

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