Cambodia expects to have up to 10.2 million employed people in 2026, based on a predicted future labour growth rate of 2.5 per cent per year, according to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.

Cambodia’s population this year is estimated to be over 17 million.

In a February 9 report, the ministry said economic growth is expected to reach around 6.6 per cent this year, with more than 220,000 jobs to be created, an increase of 2.3 per cent.

Between 2024 and 2026, around 235,000 jobs are projected to be created each year, an increase of around 2.5 per cent per year. This will mean a total of 10.2 million people in employment in 2026, added the report.

The sectors that are expected to see the highest growth rates are hospitality and tourism, construction, industry, retail, transportation, telecommunications and manufacturing. The jobs that will be in high demand are predicted to be specialised manufacturing and service roles.

The skills that employers are currently seeking are English and Chinese language proficiency, technical skills, communications, operation management and customer service. 

Heng Sour, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, addressed the February 8 closing event of the ministry’s annual meeting, announcing that the ministry has issued a ten-point plan to increase the capacity of the Kingdom’s workforce.

“We will increase the partnerships between the state and the private sector to contribute to increasing the skills and vocational training of the existing labour force, as well as new graduates.

Hong Vanak, an economics researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted that the expected job creation is certainly possible, if economic growth achieves the projected figures.

He believed that it would depend on high level, flexible planning amid an uncertain global economy. 

“The labour market is closely linked to the economic development of the country. In certain sectors, we are sure that labour demand will increase, but whether the increases will be large or small we cannot be sure. The global economic situation is not certain. What we can do is strengthen ourselves, and be prepared to be flexible. We will need to be adaptable and prepared to respond to changes,” he said.

He urged students to focus on acquiring the skills that employers will need, and recommended that they take advantage of the vocational training provided by the government.