Bolivian Labor 101: More qualified, less paid: the new labor reality

Fernanda Wanderley writes in Pagina Siete:

More qualified, less paid: the new labor reality

Fernanda WanderleyLatin America is experiencing a time of unprecedented economic boom. Bolivia is no exception. In this context. expanding employment and wages, in coordination with the increase in spending and public investment, resulted in the reduction of poverty and income inequality in Bolivia.

Thus moderate poverty increased from 63.12% in 2001 to 45.70% in 2011, and extreme poverty from 39% to 21.60% in the same period. Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, went down from 0.59% in 2001 to 0.50 in 2011.

Note that the inequality only measures wage differentials between workers, not inequality between capital and labor. We have no information on the concentration and distribution of wealth in the country.

In research I conducted on the changes in the labor market in the first decade of the century, based on data from INE’s Household Surveys, it appears that the market for Bolivian labor stopped rewarding educational training since 2005.  This is a higher grade lower average real wage between 2005 and 2011; or vice versa: the lower the educational level, the greater the increase in compensation in recent years.

Thus we see that men with higher level of education had a loss of 13% and women of 5% of the average real income between 2005 and 2011; a reverse situation occurred with the population having only completed primary school. Males had an increase of 72% and women over 100% of their actual pay. In between, there are the male and female semi-skilled workers (high school graduates) with an increase of 38% and 30%, respectively.

The trend to greater lower pay grade is observed in both wage employment and self-employment between 2005 and 2011.

In the wage sector, males with higher education had a loss of 7% of their average real income, while up to 33% increased secondary and primary with up to 114%.

In the independent sector, males with higher education lost -13% of their average real income, increased by up to 32% secondary and primary with up to 75%.

Independent workers with higher education lost 6% of their average real wage, as opposed to working with high school degrees, increased their income by 43% and up to 70% those who completed primary school.

As far as women are concerned with higher education increased by 7% in the average real wage is verified, while women who have completed high school increased by 42% and those with only primary at 154%. All the above data come from household surveys of the INE.

The study will be published in the magazine Umbrales from CIDES-UMSA shows that the Bolivian labor market happened to penalize higher education graduates since 2005.

Similarly, there were no significant changes in the occupational structure, mainly in relation to the high informality and precarious. Some facts: most of the working population continues to generate their own sources of employment, despite the increase of employees. In 2011, 67% of female workers and 56% of male workers were engaged as self-employed, employer, cooperative or unpaid family worker.

Similarly, continued employment concentrated in the tertiary sector. Between 2001 and 2011 the proportion of women employed in services, trade and transport rose from 49% to 60%; while the proportion of men increased from 42% to 55% in the same period. There was also no significant changes in the coverage of the long-term safety, the roof is maintained at 20% of the employed population.

Fernanda Wanderley is a sociologist and researcher.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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