The human resources challenges in Papua New Guinea are different from developed economies because so much of the workforce is in the informal sector. According to the consultancy Deloitte, 2.5 million people work in the informal economy, compared with about 500,000 in the formal sector.
The challenge is thus to encourage workers to migrate into the formal sector. One challenge, according to Deloitte, is to look at policies around foreign workers. “In the short term, the use of foreign labour is essential to the continuation of Papua New Guinea’s growth and development agenda,” a Deloitte report says.
“However, in the long term, it is critical to ensure that only those skills for which there is no local equivalent are brought into the country. Developing a national skill needs list is a key first step.”
The report says adapting and improving education to improve skills development is a priority and it is also important to lessen job turnover. “Finding the right skills is only half the challenge; the other is retaining them. High turnover rates add an enormous cost to businesses by forcing them to continually hire and train new staff in a never ending cycle.”