The number of Bruneians seeking jobs has climbed in recent months as the Local Employment Section of the Labour Department has confirmed that it received some 4,700 applicants struggling to find employment from January to August this year.
In the past week alone, the section said it received 300 new applications with many searching for jobs in administration, but most of the unemployed still prefer to work in the public sector.
However, according to Haji Mohd Ideni Hj Ahmad, Assistant Commissioner of Labour, locals are slowly but steadily opening up and are taking up opportunities provided by the private sector.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Hj Mohd Ideni said most private companies working in cooperation with the local employment section in search of employees look at an applicant's willingness to work more than his/her qualification.
"An applicant's willingness to work is one of the major driving factors that an employer considers in a potential candidate. Even if an applicant has a primary six qualification, but if he/she is determined and willing to work, it catches the employer's attention.
"It's a different story if the position offered requires high qualification and an under qualified applicant applies," he quickly added.
He said the Local Employment Section is trying to create awareness not only among job seekers but also the private sector.
Hj Mohd Ideni urged those in the private sector to inform the section on jobs that they offer.
Commenting on the employment figures, the assistant commissioner said of the 4,700 applicants it received throughout the year until August, only 189 got jobs in the private sector.
"It's hard to state the actual figures. The 189 could be under-calculated because some employment-seeking cardholders do not inform us once they get jobs. So, we do not know if the numbers are higher," he added.
Hj Mohd Ideni also advised private companies to look into the public-private partnership initiative as it would help job seekers find employment directly or indirectly.
Yesterday, the Bulletin witnessed first hand the high demand for employment at the Job Centre in the capital. Unemployed locals were seen sending in applications, queuing in long lines waiting to get interviewed while some were looking at advertisements on the bulletin board for vacancies.
The Job Centre, which is now located in the capital behind the Brunei Hotel, was relocated in September 2008 from its previous place at the Immigrations headquarters.
The centre's functions include counselling, training, advertising and interviewing job seekers. (Borneo Bulletin)