China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a pilot project under the
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI involves almost 80 countries and 6
planned economic corridors. CPEC is the first one, and may serve as
"role model". Under this initiative, infrastructure, power generation,
development of Gwadar Port and industrialization will take place. It
will boost economic activities and create jobs. It is expected that
around 2 million new jobs will be generated through CPEC till 2030.
As at this stage, most of the projects are categorized as
infrastructure development. It will require civil engineers, mechanical,
electrical and other related disciplines of engineering. It will also
need technicians: masons, welders, carpenters, surveyors, steel fixer,
machine operators, etc. In addition to technical workforce, it will also
need economists, finance, accounting, management HR and interpreters of
Chinese language etc.
Among the on-going projects, most of them are in the power sector,
either hydro-power, coal power, nuclear power or renewable energy
The rest of the projects are development of Gwadar port, airports, railway, pipelines, optical fiber-link.
There will be more jobs for engineers and technicians in the future
with some available to other disciplines as well. Pakistan needs to
introduce reforms in its educational sector, where it needs to identify
the requirements under CPEC and then produce requisite human resource.
Currently, Chinese companies have created around 70,000 jobs for
Pakistanis, but in near future, the number will increase exponentially.
However, at the initial stage, Chinese companies may bring their own
workforce for the time being. But bringing Chinese workforce is not a
viable solution for long run, it may solve immediate issue for
short-term only. As the Chinese wages are higher, against one Chinese
worker, they can hire 4 local workers. When they bring workforce from
China, additional cost of air ticket, medical facilities, accommodation,
food and other costs turn out to be economically less viable. Bringing
Chinese workforce may shoot up the cost of project or reduce the profit
margin for investors, in either case it is not desired option. On the
other hand, China is also facing shortage of labor in its own labor
market. Especially, in developed cities in southern part of China, there
exists an acute shortage of labor. Due to economic growth in China, the
standard of life has improved, and many young people are not willing to
opt for labor intensive job. Most of the youth is well-off economically
and depend on their parent’s money. They may not work on job below
their standards. Some of them may be getting more money from parents,
than earning by job. Parents having only one child, but abundance of
money, may also not allow them to go for job below then their prestige.
It is a common social issue too. China may not be in a position to spare
workforce for overseas projects.
Although Pakistani workforce is not well trained, not enough skilled,
not so efficient, etc. But, in the longer run, there is a need to train
workforce up to mark, where they can be utilized efficiently. We need
to improve their productivity. It is all possible, but requires hard
work and government support. It might be up-hill task in the beginning,
but once initiated, it will go on and on perpetually.
Providing jobs to locals will create a lot of good will and improve
the life standard of poverty-hit areas too. Under social responsibility,
companies may extend cooperation in training and developing required
human resource. If master trainers are produced locally, it will help to
multiply the local workforce.
Chinese experience of development may be replicated in Pakistan.
Pakistan has already institutions and basic facilities, need to
strengthen them and streamlining them. Appropriate policies and programs
may be launched to address such issues. The day is not so far away,
when Pakistan can depend on its own domestic workforce. It will bring
prosperity to Pakistan. Job creation strengthens economy as well as
ensures social welfare and advancement on society.