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Dhaka Tribune

Don’t work hard, work smart

Bangladesh’s job market is going through a dynamic change

Update : 22 Oct 2018, 12:35 AM

In 2009, I took Samson H Chowdhury, the founder of Square Group, to my entrepreneurship class at North South University (NSU). My regular readers knew Samson Chowdhury would agree with me, the gentleman had made a terrific speech in front of their MBA students. Apart from all of the truth that he spoke, one line still rings in my ears: Don’t work hard, work smart.

A daily labourer, with the willingness of working hard, goes about in search of job assignments, whereas he needs to start functioning smartly. He said: “You have to be the right person in the right place, but, more importantly, at the right time.” He further reiterated how the right person would not even waste his time at the wrong place, which would only make himself, and those around him, demotivated.

The job market throughout the entire world is going through a paradigm shift. We can see many graduating students pursuing entrepreneurship instead of a steady job these days. 

We may soon see our entire policy regime changing to align with the start-up ecosystem. Workers without “posh English” but with the required knowledge technical knowhowwill make the best use of it, becoming the “main strength” in the pool of employable youth.

When the country’s largest mobile phone operator, Grameenphone, first came up with the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) for its long-in-the-tooth and not-so-important employees, the after-effects was disastrous. Ministers, policy-makers, regulatory seniors, and other officials raised eyebrows. Employees were demonstrating. 

A few years ago, Grameenphone came up another, larger VRS which involved more people and a huge amount of money got washed out.

These students joined IT start-ups, opened boutique shops, or floated their catering businesses. A few of them joined the competition with higher salary and perks. Some even floated professional training centers and market research firms.

As you may know, many of the Pathao investors came from NSU.

Cellphone, e-commerce, ride-sharing, and even “English in action” have changed our lives to a great degree. Young Bangladeshi graduates from private universities and colleges will soon surpass their South Indian counterparts joining the BPO industry, in the way they speak or make the best use of computer technology.

Many offices encourage their employees to work from home at least one day in a week. As long as the employees are delivering their assigned work properly and on time, seniors are happy. 

Offices are encouraging “clean desk” policies, thereby making the best use of their office space in the process. In the era of exorbitant office rents, one office seat is being used by multiple employees or managers. We are seeing more women joining the offices -- changing the colour of the offices, adding more diversity to the workforce. 

In about two decades, we may see 75% of office joiners to be women, and their husbands as entrepreneurs. We are even seeing significant changes in the government offices too.

In our days, most of the Pakistanis or Bangladeshi students could not even dream of joining good UK or US universities. These days? You name it. 

The world is changing, and so our youths are changing -- defining intelligence or success in a new form.

Mamun Rashid is a business professor and economic analyst.

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