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Tourist arrivals’ fivefold increase since 2009 opens up labour market opportunities


8 May 2017 11:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Despite the difficulties that came with the necessary repairs of the 30-year-old runway of Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka’s busiest international airport, tourism has experienced a good first quarter. 
Tourist arrivals rose 3.4 percent to 604,953 in the first three months of 2017 alone. According to the World Bank data, Sri Lanka noted around 450,000 international arrivals in the whole year of 2009. Comparing that to the current trend, this approximately represents a fivefold increase in the past eight years. Head of Business Development Daniel Topolanek remarked, “This is also reflected in the labour market in Sri Lanka, as hotels and lodging is the industry hiring the most in the past three months. With 1,500 jobs available on, the industry received around five applications per position available during the past quarter.”
Putting that in comparison with the banking industry, this number looks quite gratifying. With an applicant to job ratio of 29, candidates’ chances of succeeding in getting an offer from a bank stand at around 3.5 percent.
Education is another flourishing field in the Sri Lankan labour market. With only 15 public universities in the country, there is a lot of potential for private institutes. Yearly, 94 percent of A-Level graduates are not admitted to any of those 
15 schools.
Given the nation’s aspiration to become a global player economically, young people often choose private tertiary education in order to become more competitive on the labour market, which in turn creates a lot of jobs for people 
in education. 
“IT will undoubtedly remain among the top five hiring industries for years to come,” explained Managing Director Rushabh Sheth, an engineer 
by background. 
The IT industry’s goal is to achieve US $ 5 billion in exports by 2022, in addition to creating 200,000 jobs and helping 2,000 tech start-ups. 
The job market, however, experienced a shift in terms of the most desirable professions among job seekers during the first quarter of 2017. 
While HR-related jobs were the number one professions throughout 2016, accounting jobs were the most highly sought-after in 1Q this year. In fact, human resources did not even make the top five. Being a very popular field to enter, it can be assumed, nevertheless, that it will be up there again very soon.

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