Fiji: Analysis of an Employment Survey
During 1995-1997, UNFPA funded a project in the National Planning Office entitled: "Assistance in Population, Workforce Planning and Human Resources Development Planning". Since that time, UNDP has taken over the funding of the project which is now entitled: "Strategic Human Resources Planning in Fiji". Both phases of the project have been executed by the International Labour Office.
During the initial project the CST Adviser in Population Policies and Development Strategies assisted the Government to design a survey of employees in the formal sector with the aim of exploring the relationship between levels of workers productivity, earnings, and indices of their human capital accumulation. Also to be explored were elements of gender concentration and segmentation in the labour market.
The data were collected by a sub-contractor from the University of the South Pacific and in recent months, at the request of the NPO, Mr. House has been undertaking analysis of the data set which includes demographic and socio-economic information on over 8,000 individual workers. Preliminary results show a very high rate of return on investment in schooling, particularly at the upper end of the education spectrum. Speculatively, this result may well be a consequence of the extensive emigration of highly skilled citizens in the period since 1987. The returns to vocational training are significant and underline the need to expand the intake of underemployed and unemployed school-leavers into these training institutions. While the education system in Fiji has expanded impressively in recent years, this has increased the competition for jobs in the formal sector, without provoking any contraction of wage levels. The analysis shows that occupation, contrary to neoclassical assumptions, is statistically significant in explaining pay levels, a result typical of an imperfect labour market. The public and parastatal sectors also appear to set their pay scales for certain kinds of labour regardless of supply-demand conditions.
This preliminary analysis finds that women in Fijis formal sector labour market are markedly concentrated in certain sectors and occupations and appear to earn significantly less than men with seemingly comparable human capital attributes.
When the analysis is fully complete it is anticipated that these important findings and consequent recommendations will be used to enhance the ability of the Government to promote strategic human resources planning in Fiji