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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        20  June 2011

Labor shortage in Cambodia’s special zone

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The Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone has announced a Cambodia-wide recruitment drive amid a shortage of skilled labour in the country as the PPSEZ looks to position itself as a leading destination for investment in Southeast Asia.

One of only a handful of 20 Cambodian special economic zones that has proven a success so far, the PPSEZ has already attracted large multinationals from East Asia including Ajinomoto, Yamaha and Mineaba as well as Sumitomo Electric Industries, a Fortune 500 company. But PPSEZ managing director Hiroshi Uematsu said a lack of suitable workers threatens to hold back the project amid rising interest from foreign firms as the global economy continues to recover.

"Demand for investment in Cambodia is in fact so high that our partners often have a hard time finding a large number of workers at all skill levels," he said, announcing the recruitment drive on May 19.

Mr. Uematsu said that the PPSEZ has already created 5,000 jobs for Cambodians during phase one of the project and estimates a further 5,000 new jobs will be made available over the next 12 months as more companies come to it and those already present expand further.

He said talks are continuing with about 10 new multinational investors, without naming the companies, following the start of phase two of the project ahead of schedule this past February. "An increasing number are approaching us day by day," said Mr. Uematsu.

Companies that have decided to invest in the PPSEZ have seen smaller supply companies join them, given the market opportunities in Cambodia's underdeveloped industrial sector. Ajinomoto previously sourced its packaging from Singapore, but after opening a new packaging plant in the zone last October, a Chinese company, Xishan, has come in to fill the void.

The trial is ongoing.


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